The Oceanside Community Safety Volunteers group has had to return the funding it receives from the Regional District of Nanaimo due to COVID-19.
The non-profit group runs the Block Watch, Child Identification, Community Watch, Child Car Seat Safety, Lock Out Auto Crime, Speed Watch and many others. But in 2020 the OCSV was not able to hold most of the programs and had to return unused funds to the RDN and has also decline to take the allocation of $67,220 for 2021.
OCSV informed the RDN that with the decline in volunteerism and the pandemic, it struggled to continue providing services to the City of Parksville, Town of Qualicum Beach and Electoral Areas E (Nanoose Bay), F (Coombs, Hilliers, Errington, Whiskey Creek, Meadowood), G (French Creek, San Pareil, Little Qualicum, Englishman River), and H (Bowser, Qualicum Bay, Deep Bay).
The RDN’s general manager of transportation and emergency services, Daniel Pearce, informed the Oceanside Services Committee at its meeting on June 10, the group consist mostly of volunteers who are seniors.
“During COVID, they haven’t been able to do it so there’s questions on how that program will move forward in the future,” said Pearce. “They’re not sure how their volunteer uptake will take place in the fall once full vaccines schedules are taking place. They’re quite hopeful that it will continue.”
The unused funds will now be kept in reserve until the OCSV is able to resume its work.
OSC chair Brian Wiese, Qualicum Beach mayor and RDN director, hopes the group will be back.
“They do a good job around here,” said Wiese.