The financial pressures of COVID-19 are putting northern communities in a difficult position, limiting the help Mayors and Councils can provide to residents and businesses.
Several mayors say their municipalities are so strapped for resources, that they can’t provide much help.
Mayors have estimated and are calling on the province to provide an immediate $10 million in new money.
“One scenario that we talked about was forgiving the environment, water and sewer, the utility rates for three months which would equal about $240 per household. That’s just one scenario on how we might be able to support some people in our community,” explained Air Ronge Mayor Gordon Stomp.
Stomp said the provincial government has added no extra financial support to northern community, as Air Ronge alone could use hundreds of thousands of dollars right now.
The federal government is offering aid to First Nations and Metis communities to help with the coronavirus.
“We know other municipalities will also need increased support, and we urge the province to be in regular conversations with them about this,” said Cumberland MLA Doyle Vermette. “But Northern communities are isolated, are dealing with an outbreak, and have much less in the way of services than other parts of the province.”
Stomp said he has not spoken with representatives from the province about his concerns.
(Air Ronge Mayor Gordon Stomp.)