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City of Cold Lake issues temporary layoffs in wake of COVID-19

Cold Lake City Hall

COLD LAKE - Facility closures and reduction in services due to the coronavirus has the City of Cold Lake reducing their staffing numbers.

The city announced on Thursday, April 2 that they've issued temporary leaves to over 25 staff memebers as a direct result of the impacts COVID-19 is having on their services and facilities.

“This was a very difficult decision and we hope these valued staff members will be able to return to their positions as soon as possible,” CAO Kevin Nagoya said in a press release. “This is an unprecedented situation that we find ourselves in and the city’s administration must always maintain a respect for taxpayers’ dollars. We made every reasonable effort to have all staff members work for as long as possible, however, because of the protracted nature of the COVID-19 health emergency, it had come to the point where this challenging decision had to be made.”

Provincial and federal mandates in response to the coronavirus has forced the closure of many municipally-run facilities, including the Energy Centre, Cold Lake Golf and Winter Club, and Parent Link. Along with the cancellation of events and the requirement for physical distancing, this has meant current staffing levels were no longer sustainable for the city.

In a release, the city has said that staff members being placed on leave "will have access to a registered supplemental unemployment benefit plan, and will also have the option to provide the city with expressions of interest for potential redeployment and reassignment opportunities, if available."

“This challenging decision reflects only the fiscal reality that our community, like many others, is facing due to the health emergency,” explained Nagoya. “The City of Cold Lake is a beautiful place to live in large part because of the dedication of our staff members. We look forward to the opportunity to welcome our colleagues back and resume our programs and services in due course.”