Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Economic Recovery Task Force moving forward

The Chatham-Kent Economic Recovery Task Force co-chairs, Michael Grail and Rocky Gaudrault, held a meeting last week at the request of Mayor Darrin Canniff to formally bring together chairs from nine sector sub-committees.

Municipal officials say the meeting begins the process of looking at how collective solutions can be found to support business and not-for-profit groups in dealing with the economic impacts of COVID-19.

The mandate for the Chatham-Kent Economic Recovery Task Force is to understand and report on the recovery of the local economy, to develop key strategies and recommendations for change, and to communicate and engage with businesses, owners, and leaders across a variety of sectors of the Chatham-Kent economy, Municipal officials say.

The task force co-chairs stated that they are honoured to be heading the committee, which is comprised of community leaders from all sectors of Chatham-Kent.

“The pandemic has forced us to re-think everything that we currently do and it’s critical to look for innovative and creative solutions to make our community stronger and ready for growth,” Grail and Gaudrault said in a statement.

The report from the task force is expected to be completed by the end of May and will be presented to Chatham-Kent Council as well as to other levels of government.

The nine sector sub-committees and Chairs are:

– Manufacturing and Logistics: Mike Kilby, Larry Delaey

– Professional Services: Tracey Walker and Katherine Denkers

– Hospitality and Tourism: Pete Tsirimbis

– Arts and Culture: Rachel Schwarz

– Property, Real Estate, and Construction: Fred Naclerio and Robb Nelson

– Small Business and Entrepreneurs: Gail Hundt and Wade Vermeersch

– Not for Profit: Mike Genge and Patricia Peters

– Communications and IT: Andrew Thiel and Greg Hetherington

– Agriculture and Food Processing: Geetu Pathak and Greg Devries

“We need everyone’s input into how we can help Chatham-Kent be resilient,” Mayor Canniff stated in a press release.

“Anyone who is willing to be a part of the group is welcome so we can learn from your insights.”

Mayor Canniff added: “The groups are working independently from Council, so we are eager to hear from the business community on how the municipality, along with other levels of government, can support recovery efforts.”

John Norton, General Manager of Community Development, is the senior municipal staff member assigned responsibility for leading economic recovery.

“The first meeting had some excellent discussion that drove to the issues at hand surrounding workforce, financing, timelines, and the essentials for kick-starting the economy,” Norton said in a media release.

“I hope that the task force will develop innovative ideas for businesses, municipal government, and provincial and federal levels of government, regarding what can be done to help our economy recover from the COVID crisis.”

The chairs of the sector sub-committees will now be reaching out to those who have expressed an interest in being part of the task force to discuss their thoughts on the impact to each sector and opportunities to support recovery.

Others are welcome to express an interest in joining the task force sub-committees by emailing: CKERTF@gmail.com.

For more information you can visit www.investck.ca/ERTF or call either Grail at 519-365-1431 or Gaudrault at 519-350-9214.

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