Almost $6M in COVID reopening grants not claimed by businesses, says city

·1 min read
Nearly $6 million in COVID reopening grants from the City of Calgary have not been claimed by local businesses.  (Colleen De Neve for CBC News - image credit)
Nearly $6 million in COVID reopening grants from the City of Calgary have not been claimed by local businesses. (Colleen De Neve for CBC News - image credit)

Nearly half of $13 million in reopening grants for Calgary businesses hurt by the pandemic has not been given out after a lack of applications.

The grants approved earlier this year by city council targeted restaurants, bars, pubs, fitness centres and entertainment venues like nightclubs.

Council estimated 3,800 of these businesses faced temporary or full-scale shutdowns during the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, a meeting of council's priorities and finance committee Wednesday revealed that almost $6 million remains unspent after only 2,240 applications were received.

Mayor Naheed Nenshi says city council will discuss next week how to get the remaining money out the door to help local businesses.

"We had a lot of businesses that just didn't apply, which to me is a shame, but I pushed hard, and we sent a postcard to every single business, made it as simple as possible to apply," he said.

"A lot of folks, I guess, are just too busy running their business to actually have time to even work on this stuff."

The program ran from July 2 to August 10 and had around 19,000 visitors to the website, says the city.

Coun. Evan Woolley assumed the grants would be oversubscribed and questions how council missed the mark.

He says he'd like the leftover money to go to businesses now being hurt by the province's decision to halt liquor sales at 10 p.m.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting