Economic Recovery Task Force hits the ground running in its first meeting

On June 2, the Kawartha Lakes Economic Recovery Task Force kicked off its first meeting, including Mayor Letham, Deputy Mayor O’Reilly, Councillor Veale, City staff and representatives from infrastructure, development and local business. The task force appointed representatives from the business community, prioritized the need for stronger broadband internet and explored opportunities to support local business.

“I am very pleased with the way Tuesday’s kick-off meeting went,” said Mayor Letham. “Everyone had a lot of ideas and is anxious to help get the economy back on its feet. We all left with some homework and are looking forward to getting to work on the opportunities we identified.”

To help provide a business perspective and representation from across the City, the task force appointed three members of the public to the team with first-hand experience in infrastructure stimulus, development projects and the impacts of the pandemic:

  • Bjorn Alfreddson, the former owner of Holsag Canada
  • Jill Quast, the owner of Happy Days Houseboats in Bobcaygeon and Chair of the Kawartha Lakes Futures Development Corporation
  • Mark Wilson, owner of MVW Construction and developer

A key focus of the first meeting was the topic of infrastructure and priorities. In particular, the task force discussed the need for stronger internet access across the municipality after the pandemic exposed a demand for greater broadband capacity. The Eastern Ontario Regional Network (EORN) is drafting a proposal for improved internet service and the City is meeting with provincial and federal members about the proposal.

The task force also reviewed development approval processes with a focus on how to engage partners to help facilitate important developments going forward. Additionally, the team is exploring options to support a campaign for local businesses and to encourage shopping local. To start, the group reached a consensus on allowing stores and restaurants to extend their footprint and patios onto municipal property, such as sidewalks and parking spaces, to offset the need for physical distancing.

“It has been a challenging few months for our local economy and I’m pleased we can now offer further support through this Task Force,” commented Rebecca Mustard, Manager of Economic Development. “Our local businesses are the backbone of the Kawartha Lakes economy and we’re working closely with them and Team Kawartha Lakes to get through this together.”

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