Retailers in Sidney and elsewhere on the Saanich Peninsula have been drastically affected by reduced operating hours or capacity in the face of COVID-19. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)

Sidney mayor says economic impacts of COVID will reach into 2021, if not beyond

Cliff McNeil-Smith issued the warning during a presentation to Central Saanich council

A mobile phone app designed to educate consumers and support retailers and restaurants in navigating the COVID-19 pandemic is one of the first ideas to emerge from the Rising Economy Taskforce.

Task force member and Sidney Mayor Cliff McNeil-Smith described the app during a presentation updating Central Saanich council about the group’s priorities and activities. The South Island Prosperity Partnership established the task force in mid-April to address the impact on Saanich Peninsula municipalities of the pandemic.

Sidney Mayor Cliff McNeil-Smith warns of long-term economic pain from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. (Town of Sidney/Submitted)

The app, in test mode now, aims to “help build confidence among the public” as they return to retailers and restaurants that have significant new safety measures in place.

Calen McNeil, who co-chairs the retail, services and restaurants committee on the task force, said the app updates users about what local businesses are doing with respect to COVID practices.

“It’s a really good way to communicate and it also supports local businesses operating in the region,” she told the News Review earlier this month. “If nothing else, this app shows the government is thinking more entrepreneurially, and I think that’s pretty encouraging.”

The news from McNeil-Smith wasn’t all good, as he warned of long-term economic pain from COVID-19, which has created the “sharpest economic downturn” in the region in at least a generation. “As we know, the economic impacts are going to continue well into 2021, if not beyond.”

RELATED: Finance Minister Carole James ‘optimistic’ about B.C.’s economic recovery

He described the four priorities of the task force: To create recovery priorities for the region that are most inclusive and maximize positive economic impacts; identify regional opportunities that are aligned with municipal, provincial and federal stimulus policies and funding; help coordinate the recovery by identifying common interests; and give confidence by demonstrating that recovery efforts are coordinated.

RELATED: B.C. Liberals criticize Horgan’s economic recovery plan for excluding tourism sector representation

Following an analysis of the current circumstances, stakeholders working across 11 sector-specific committees have been working on projects with a short, medium and long-term perspective, McNeil-Smith said.

“The projects that come coming forward should be deliverable within 18 months.”

Each of the 11 sector committees will submit recommendations at the task force’s August meeting. The public can expect a final recovery plan in mid-November as part of a larger, week-long public campaign and forum.

As for the phone app, McNeil-Smith said once testing is completed, implementation will come as soon as it is practicable.


Like us on Facebook and follow @wolfgang_depner

wolfgang.depner@peninsulanewsreview.com

CoronaviruseconomySaanich Peninsula

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Sidney joins federal government in Reay Creek improvements

Coun. Chad Rintoul says contract to renovate Reay Creek dam makes him ‘nervous’

Mysterious Brazilian honey barrel appears at Saanich intersection

Barrel spotted on West Saanich Road part of intersection construction project, district says

Lost dog reunited with family three months after going missing along Juan de Fuca trail

‘The poor thing was skin and bones,’ says one of the Sooke rescuers

Victoria family donates 878 falafel wraps to support Beirut blast victims

Wrap and Roll pulls in $20,500 during weekend fundraiser

B.C. records 30-50 new COVID-19 cases a day over weekend, no new deaths

Many of those testing positive were identified by contact tracing for being linked to other confirmed infections

Over half of Americans oppose Trump tariff on Canadian aluminum: survey

The survey was conducted Aug. 7 to 9 among 1,513 Canadians and 1,003 Americans

Oh baby, what a birthday gift: $2.8M raised to help B.C. boy with rare disease

‘We are very thankful to everybody,’ Aryan Deol’s father says

‘Huckleberry’ the bear killed after B.C. residents admit to leaving garbage out for videos

North Shore Black Bear Society said it was local residents who created a ‘death sentence’ for bear

Police investigating after insults, expletives yelled at federal minister’s staff

A 90-second video circulating on social media appears to have been shot by the person who was yelling

Central Vancouver Island’s Green Mountain fire under full control

Fire fighters still monitoring site between Cowichan Lake and Nanaimo River

5 B.C. First Nations call out Canada for ‘discriminatory’ food fish practices

West Coast nations say government ignoring court-won right to chinook and coho

B.C. marine ecologist wants Canada to sink its teeth into shark protection

Gulf Islands scientist says top predator under shocking threat from human behaviour

Rent-relief program becomes new front in fight between Liberals, opposition

Opposition trying to draw parallels between decision to have Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. run program and the WE controversy

Most Read