The City of Prince George will be exploring establishing a one-time emergency fund to help downtown businesses recover following last week’s explosion.
Coun. Kyle Sampson brought forward the idea at Monday’s council meeting following discussion of correspondence from the Downtown Business Improvement Association also known as Downtown PG.
“I’ve talked to some of them and the repairs can cost between $500 and $5,000 and there’s about 16 businesses that have been impacted in some way,” said Sampson, noting that many businesses are dealing with broken glass and doors.
“There’s been a great deal of hardship from the business community in the downtown as well so just looking for ways we can work together with them to provide some one-time emergency relief in the area.”
He put forward a motion requesting city administration to research how to execute a one-time relief program that could potentially come from the council contingency fund.
“Obviously we aren’t going to be able to cover the full cost of these damages but if we could provide some sort of aid to the downtown businesses in a show of support, I think that would be the ideal situation,” said Sampson, suggesting a figure up to $20,000.
The Council Contingency Fund is $75,000 per year but council has approved three amounts from the fund so far this year and the remaining balance is $34,200.
Coun. Garth Frizzell suggested amending the motion so that administration could also explore other options for funding support.
“I am interested in receiving more information and receiving a report on this. Our businesses are really struggling downtown and to have to close for a period of time and additionally incur expenses either through insurance or out of pocket it is going to be tough so I think this is a good thing we can get behind,” said Coun. Cori Ramsay.
“Quite frankly after what happened I think it’s the least we can do,” added Coun. Ron Polillo.