After receiving approximately $1.17 million in COVID-19 safe restart money from the B.C. government in late 2020, Regional District of Nanaimo received an additional $715,000 in 2021. (News Bulletin file)

After receiving approximately $1.17 million in COVID-19 safe restart money from the B.C. government in late 2020, Regional District of Nanaimo received an additional $715,000 in 2021. (News Bulletin file)

RDN spending COVID-19 recovery money on cyberattack protection, portable toilets

B.C. government grants $715,000 in COVID-19 Safe Restart money to Regional District of Nanaimo

After receiving $1.17 million in pandemic relief money from the B.C. government previously, the Regional District of Nanaimo will receive an additional $715,000.

The RDN was granted $715,000 in COVID-19 Safe Restart money, according to a recent staff report, and like the $1-million-plus allotment from late 2020, it must be used to address such items as revenue shortfalls and costs associated with emergency planning and response, computer technology, bylaw enforcement and fire protection and services for vulnerable people.

A majority of the $715,000 ($439,000) will be spent on information technology aimed at safeguarding the RDN’s network from cyberattacks and “active monitoring of public and private data,” according to the staff report. The RDN told the News Bulletin the money will go toward upgrading network monitoring and intrusion detection systems to better protect its physical and virtual environments to protect residents’ data.

Items to enable improved public access and participation at meetings, increased capacity for more online and cloud services and contract and interim positions to focus on information technology security-related improvements are also part of that, the RDN said.

The regional district will use $35,000 for three portable toilets for transit operators at bus exchanges at Woodgrove Centre, Ravensong Aquatic Centre and Deep Bay.

There will be an expenditure of $25,000 for extra safety and plexiglass barriers at the Hammond Bay Road administration centre lobby and $150,000 for formation of “corporate continuity plans” to respond to circumstances coming about due to COVID-19, according to the report.

The remaining $66,000 will be used for Oceanside Arena, to offset losses due to COVID-19 closures.

The money will need to be allocated by the end of the year, the report said.

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