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

VIDEO: Internet famous Yukon-based bhangra dancer explores Vancouver Island

Gurdeep Pandher spreads joy through dance, forms cross-cultural connections amid pandemic

Avoid giving dogs ice cubes, says Greater Victoria vet

Tips for keeping dogs cool and safe this summer

Hungry Hearts Gala goes virtual with new mac and cheese competition

Results will be announced on Facebook live stream event

GVPL staggers reopening of three more branches in Oak Bay, Saanich and Victoria

More Greater Victoria Library branches to reopen in August

Gaps in the system: Youth cope with homelessness in Greater Victoria

Four-part series will look at youth homelessness in the region

53 new COVID-19 cases, no new deaths cap off week of high infection rates in B.C.

Roughly 1,500 people are self-isolating because they either have COVID-19 or have been exposed to it

Unofficial holidays: the weird and wonderful things people celebrate around the world

On any given day of the year, there are several strange, silly or serious holidays to observe

Missing teen visiting Courtenay found safe

She had last been seen going for a walk on Aug. 6

Moving on: Tanev scores 11 seconds into OT as Canucks oust Wild

Vancouver beats Minnesota 5-4 to move into first round of NHL playoffs

Fitness non-profit challenges citizens to invent a game to be physically active

The campaign was launched after a study showed only 4.8 per cent of children and youths in Canada met required standards of the 24-hour movement guidelines

Gene editing debate takes root with organic broccoli, new UBC research shows

Broccoli is one of the best-known vegetables with origins in this scientific haze

VIDEO: U.S. Air Force pilot does fly-by for B.C. son amid COVID border separation

Sky-high father-son visit plays out over White Rock Pier

3 Vancouver police officers test positive for COVID after responding to large party

Union president says other officers are self-isolating due to possible exposure

Vancouver Island team takes on wacky challenges of world’s largest scavenger hunt

Greatest International Scavenger Hunt taking place Aug. 1-8

Most Read