A Community Recovery Task Force has been created to focus on social and economic recovery for local businesses during COVID-19.
The team is led by the Prince George Chamber of Commerce (PGCC) Board of Directors and will include up to 12 voting members.
One of the mandates of the Task Force is to advocate with senior levels of government for remedies to ease the economic burdens created by the pandemic.
PGCC CEO Todd Corrigall attended Monday night’s (Jan. 11) city council meeting to request Mayor Lyn Hall and senior staff’s participation.
“The chamber would like to propose a partnership, we want to see recovery from our community through social challenges as well as economic challenges,” said Corrigall.
During the same meeting, the Mayor’s Select Committee on a Safe, Clean, and Inclusive Community presented a report on its key commitments to improve social problems in the city with a focus on the downtown core.
However, Corrigall said the business community believed the select committee has not fully achieved its mandate.
“Unfortunately, the select committee was required to narrowly focus on a few predetermined solutions without a wider array of options that we were prepared to discuss,” said Corrigall.
“We hoped that the select committee would galvanize joint advocacy efforts, but, as I have stated, there wasn’t opportunity to review priorities and seek alignment. We know a great deal of that is burned on COVID-19. We believe alignment exists already and there is more we can do to together.”
He said the success of the #SupportPG campaign, which saw many organizations come together to promote businesses and services in Prince George during the pandemic, shows collaboration can lead to positive solutions.
The voting members of the task force include representatives from Downtown Prince George, Gateway Business Association, Lheidli T’enneh, Tourism Prince George, the city and the PGCC.
Corrigall requested three of the city’s positions on the task force be filled with the Mayor, Chief Administrative Officer and Manager of Economic Development.
"The chamber is willing to lead and we want to work to recovery on the mental health and addictions crisis and the recovery from the pandemic. We want to provide a very strong voice to senior levels of government with solutions to these challenges."
However, Coun. Murry Krause noted there was a lack of representation from the city’s social service community within the task force’s makeup.
“I’m struggling to see how we would address the recovery in the social service area without the engagement of the social service community,” Krause added.
“I think to really garner support of this endeavour, especially to look at the social recovery, I think it would be imparative that there would be representation from the social service community in some way. I think there might be reserved support for this going forward if that isn’t part of the committee.”
Corrigall noted there was opportunity for the task force’s terms of reference to be amended to add more voting members.
When the motion for the city to join the new Community Recovery Task Force was made at the end of the presentation, it was passed unanimously by council.