The Westbank First Nation Chief alongside regional mayors held the second Economic Recovery Task Force meeting, on June 16, to develop a plan to influence long-term economic recovery in the Central Okanagan, as businesses start to re-open in alignment with the BC Restart Plan.
Key findings from the Economic Recovery Task Force meeting include:
- The Region’s strong economic strength and record-setting growth over that past several years prior to the impacts of COVID-19 and positive Public Health response since March 2020 position the region to recover well long-term.
- Summer visitors to the region are expected to decline and Central Okanagan businesses need ongoing, community support to survive. There are many local initiatives to make it easy for residents to support businesses. See investkelowna.com/blog
- While federal and provincial programming and supports have been instrumental in stabilizing many local companies as they weather the adverse impacts of COVID 19, gaps exist and further action is necessary for businesses that have not qualified for support.
- Local governments and Westbank First Nation have a role to play in collaborating, connecting with, and assisting the diverse industries in the Central Okanagan – the Economic Recovery Task Force is recognized by industry leaders for their leadership in implementing a regional approach to long-term economic recovery.
The June 16 meeting allowed for the Economic Recovery Task Force to guide the development of a regional advocacy strategy which would work with senior levels of governments to address gaps in some of the existing aid programs, share specific issues and concerns identified by the industry during roundtable discussions
Economic Recovery Task Force co-chair and RDCO chair Gail Given said Central Okanagan businesses have experienced a variety of impacts from COVID-19.
“While some industries were impacted early on, others are only beginning to see impacts now. The Early Indicator Reports received by the Economic Recovery Task Force yesterday provided a snapshot of the impact to date and what businesses need to help us understand the long-term recovery needs of the Region.”