Sunday, February 28, 2021

Economic recovery group moving forward

The path toward economic recovery in Chatham-Kent, amid the COVID-19 pandemic, took another step forward on Monday night, May 25.

Mike Grail, one of the co-chairs of the Chatham-Kent Economic Recovery Task Force, made a presentation to Chatham-Kent Council during their electronic meeting.

Grail provided details about five major recommendations put forward by their newly formed group, which is comprised of community leaders from various sectors in Chatham-Kent.

“For Council, the time is now,” Grail said during his presentation.

“A time to challenge the status quo. A time where this crisis of COVID-19 can used as a catalyst for change. A time to re-think everything… and most importantly, a time for action.”

The recommendations in the Task Force report included multiple ideas and ways to move forward, all stemming from the following five key recommendations:

The recommendations in the report include:

– Formation of a CK Business Advisory Group

– Restart Chatham-Kent’s Economy (Short-Term)

– Grow Chatham-Kent’s Economy (Mid-Term and Long-Term)

– Decision Making in Chatham-Kent

– Review all Task Force Sector Recommendations and Comments

Read the full report from the Task Force, here.

“Council has the ability to adapt and embrace this new world,” Grail said.

“Making bold leadership decisions today will not only help C-K recover in the short-term, but allow for sustained future growth.”

Following a presentation by Grail, Wallaceburg Councillor Aaron Hall entered a successful motion, which included the following six points:

– Council receive the report from the Task Force and staff for information.

– Council endorse and support the creation of an independent CK Business Advisory Group as requested by the Economic Recovery Task Force.

– All committees and boards of Council discuss ways to work in collaboration with the new Business Advisory Group.

– Staff organize, plan and schedule a strategic planning session with Council and the Task Force/Business Advisory Group. This session will take place before the end of June of this year. The results will be reported back to Council.

– Administration will provide a report on the options listed in recommendations #3, #4 and #5 of the Task Force Report.

– Staff report back to council with recommendations and options for program criteria and funding sources, including options for potential 2020 service reductions, for up to $2-million dollars, as requested for immediate relief strategies outlined by the Task Force. The new Business Advisory Group will be consulted in the making of this report.

“We need to keep the momentum going that the Task Force has created, and empower them to continue on with their work,” Hall said, adding this “gets us closer to a truly ‘Made In Chatham-Kent’ solution” in terms of economic recovery.

John Norton, general manager of community development in Chatham-Kent, said the work being carried forward by the Task Force supports the recently approved Growth Strategy, which was approved by Council.

“When the COVID-19 crisis began we wondered what the impact would be to our Growth Strategy and we still aren’t entirely sure what the impact to the economy is going to be,” Norton said.

“This Task Force and its recommendations moves us well along forward in responding to, both the crisis happening to our economy, as well as to moving our Growth Strategy forward.”

Norton added: “From my perspective, this is a great thing. The recommendations are very bold and powerful and I’m really excited about how this can move our plans to grow our community forward.”

The economic recovery group has also launched a new website. For more details and information about the group, visit the site, here: ckertf.ca

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