Port Renfrew lies within the Juan de Fuca Electoral Area. Could the town be B.C.’s next municipality? CRD director Mike Hicks is considering it. (File - Portrenfrew.com)

Port Renfrew lies within the Juan de Fuca Electoral Area. Could the town be B.C.’s next municipality? CRD director Mike Hicks is considering it. (File - Portrenfrew.com)

Electoral area director ‘almost speechless’ as Juan de Fuca receives small amount of COVID bailout money

Now Mike Hicks mulls municipality status

Juan de Fuca Director Mike Hicks expressed his disappointment Monday that the Capital Regional District electoral area received only $43,000 from the provincial government in a COVID-19 relief fund, significantly less money than a similar size municipality.

“I don’t understand why the government would think that the Juan de Fuca Electoral Area expenses are that much less than a municipality,” Hicks said.

“The numbers speak for themselves. I’m almost speechless. I really don’t know what to say.”

The funding is part of the $425 million of joint federal and provincial spending announced by the B.C. government in November. The grant was provided to assist with increased operating costs and lower revenue due to COVID‐19.

On average, municipalities received $200 per capita through the federal and provincial-funded Safe Restart Grant program. Regional district electoral areas were provided with $8 per capita.

Hicks argued the funding formula is unfair when Juan de Fuca, with more than 5,500 residents, receives a much smaller funding amount because it’s an electoral area. He points to Zeballos, a municipality that received $200,000 but has a population of 107.

“This is a real slap in the face,” Hicks said.

However, the District of Sooke, which received $2.9 million, took a different tone to the news when it was announced in early November.

“It’s more money than we expected,” Mayor Maja Tait said.

The Union of B.C. Municipalities advocated for a “fair and equitable” distribution formula for all local governments, said Tait, who is the organization’s past-president.

The Municipal Affairs Ministry, in a statement to Black Press Media, said regional districts are responsible for distributing and utilizing the funds to address impacts from COVID-19 across all services they provide.

The Capital Regional District received $1.4 million, and it was up to the CRD board to determine how much funding was distributed to each electoral area.

“It is also important to note that most people in Juan de Fuca region live in and around the municipality of Sooke, which received $2.9 million in direct funding through the COVID-19 Safe Restart Grant for Local Governments,” the statement read.

“As the pandemic continues to evolve, so will our response, and we will continue to look at how we can work with local governments to ensure the health and safety of British Columbians.”

Hicks argued it’s a worrying sign when one community is pitted against another.

“I don’t begrudge Sooke or anyone the money, but I do question how much we got. It’s got to be fair,” said Hicks, who wasn’t expecting any pandemic bailout money from the province.

He’s now putting his efforts into turning the Juan de Fuca Electoral Area into a municipality. The Juan Fuca area covers a large area from East Sooke to Port Renfrew and includes five volunteer fire departments.

Over the years, the Juan de Fuca has kept its taxes low and in 2021 is expecting a .5 per cent increase.

And because Juan de Fuca isn’t a municipality, it cannot obtain many funds a municipality is entitled to and receives, including casino money from the province.

“They think we’re second-class citizens for some reason,” Hicks said.

RELATED: Sooke gets $2.9 million for COVID-19 economic recovery

ALSO READ: B.C. extends freeze on rent increases to July 2021 as second wave of COVID-19 continues



editor@sookenewsmirror.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Juan de Fuca

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The Esquimalt Fire Department was called to a residence on Glengarry Place Monday afternoon for a fire that has displaced two families. There were no injuries and damage is being assessed. (Black Press Media file photo)
Esquimalt fire displaces two families as damage assessed

Fire broke out late Monday afternoon at residence on Glengarry Place

Former University of Victoria rowing coach Barney Williams is photographed in the stands during the Greater Victoria Invitational at CARSA Performance Gym at the University of Victoria in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, November 29, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Rowing Canada sanctions former head coach of UVic varsity women’s team

Suspension of Barney Williams would be reversed if he complies with certain terms

A total of 10 flight exposures have affected the Victoria International Airport in April so far, making it the highest monthly total since the start of the pandemic. (Black Press Media file photo)
Victoria hits record-breaking number of monthly COVID-19 flight exposures

As of April 21, 10 flight exposures reported for the month

A new round of COVID-19 exposures has been reported at Dunsmuir Middle School, with potential exposure dates on April 7 to 15. (Google Streetview/Screenshot)
New COVID-19 exposures reported at Colwood middle school

People may bave been exposed on April 7 to 15

Victoria police are searching for Andrew Swanson who was last seen in Victoria April 7 and is wanted on warrants for choking and obstructing police. (Courtesy of VicPD)
Victoria police searching for missing man wanted for choking police

Andrew Swanson, 47, last seen in Victoria April 7

A lone traveler enters the Calgary Airport in Calgary, Alta., Monday, Feb. 22, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
VIDEO: Trudeau defends Canada’s travel restrictions as effective but open to doing more

Trudeau said quarantine hotels for international air travellers will continue until at least May 21

In this image from video, former Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin, center, is taken into custody as his attorney, Eric Nelson, left, looks on, after the verdicts were read at Chauvin’s trial for the 2020 death of George Floyd, Tuesday, April 20, 2021, at the Hennepin County Courthouse in Minneapolis, Minn. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Court TV via AP, Pool
George Floyd’s death was ‘wake-up call’ about systemic racism: Trudeau

Derek Chauvin was found guilty Tuesday on all three charges against him

A man pauses at a coffin after carrying it during a memorial march to remember victims of overdose deaths in Vancouver. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. announces historic half-billion-dollar funding for overdose crisis, mental health

Of it, $152 million will be used to address the opioid crisis and see the creation of 195 new substance use treatment beds

Children’s backpacks and shoes are seen at a CEFA (Core Education and Fine Arts) Early Learning daycare franchise, in Langley, B.C., on Tuesday May 29, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. budget to expand $10-a-day child care, but misses the mark on ‘truly universal’ system

$111 million will be used to fund 3,750 new $10-a-day spaces though 75 additional ChildCareBC universal prototype sites over the next three years.

Mak Parhar speaks at an anti-mask rally outside the Vancouver Art Gallery on Sunday, Nov. 1, 2020. Parhar was arrested on Nov. 2 and charged with allegedly violating the Quarantine Act after returning from a Flat Earth conference held in Geenville, South Carolina on Oct. 24. (Flat Earth Focker/YouTube.com screenshot)
Judge tosses lawsuit of B.C. COVID-denier who broke quarantine after Flat Earth conference

Mak Parhar accused gov, police of trespass, malfeasance, extortion, terrorism, kidnapping and fraud

Ambulance paramedic in full protective gear works outside Lion’s Gate Hospital, March 23, 2020. Hospitals are seeing record numbers of COVID-19 patients more than a year into the pandemic. (The Canadian Press)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate declines, 849 cases Tuesday

Up to 456 people now in hospital, 148 in intensive care

Christy Clark, who was premier from 2011 to 2017, is the first of several present and past politicians to appear this month before the Cullen Commission, which is investigating the causes and impact of B.C.’s money-laundering problem over the past decade. (Darryl Dyck/Canadian Press)
Christy Clark says she first learned of money-laundering spike in 2015

The former B.C. premier testified Tuesday she was concerned the problem was ‘apparently at an all-time high’

Most Read