Millions in relief is headed to Calgary social agencies, city partners, community associations, sports groups and taxi and limousine drivers.
City council approved two relief packages on Monday, directing $6 million to community associations and community recreational groups struggling with fixed operational costs, and $15 million for non-profit partners including social agencies and organizations such as the Calgary Zoo and Heritage Park.
The city will also waive driver’s licence fees and plate renewal fees for taxi and limousine drivers, saving them an estimated $1.4 million overall.
Organizations face closure
City council heard on Monday that in terms of community associations and recreational groups, approximately 10 per cent faced the possibility of closing in the near future without help, and a further 10 per cent faced closure by the end of the year.
Social agencies have also faced increased costs and impact on their revenues. Organizations including the zoo and Arts Commons have seen revenues plummet.
The $15 million will target three areas:
- $8 million for enhanced support of social programs and services.
- $2 million for targeted partnership to support arts.
- $5 million for civic and community partners.
Funds for the relief packages will come from fiscal reserves and savings. Shortfalls from the taxi and limousine industry will be covered by a livery services sustainability fund.
Council was told on Monday that overall ridership for Calgary Transit has fallen by about 80 per cent.
Also on Monday, council approved a plan to allow businesses to open pop-up patios at no cost and through a streamlined process.
Businesses with existing patios on public lands will not be charged for use of the land in 2020, and those hoping to open a new patio will not face permit fees.
The intent is to allow greater capacity and space to spread out amidst ongoing pandemic restrictions.
Administration told council that it has been in touch with Alberta Gaming Liquor and Cannabis to ensure the program can proceed quickly.