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)

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

Keygan Power with brother Quintin and mom Allison while camping the weekend before Keygan’s brain hemorrhage on Aug. 2, 2020. (Photo Allison Power)
Saanich teen ‘locked inside,’ regaining speech after severe brain hemorrhage

16-year-old suffers traumatic loss of function, still plays a mean game of chess

Island Health chief medical officer Dr. Richard Stanwick receives a first dose of Pfizer vaccine, Dec. 22, 2020. (B.C. government)
COVID-19: Vancouver Island in a January spike while B.C. cases decrease

Island’s top doc Dr. Stanwick breaks down the Island’s rising numbers

North Saanich is giving local businesses a break by waving renewal fees for 2021. (Black Press Media file photo)
North Saanich waives business renewal fees for 2021

The municipality raised $48,000 from businesses licences in 2020

The Sooke school district has filled all spots for their French immersion and nature kinderagarten programs in 2021-2022 school year. Regular kindergarten registration is still open and available. (Black Press Media file photo)
Sooke school district gets surplus of nature, French immersion kindergarten applications

Not enough room for almost half of nature kindergarten applicants

Dr. Penny Ballem, a former deputy health minister, discusses her role in leading B.C.’s COVID-19 vaccination program, at the B.C. legislature, Jan. 22, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C. holds steady with 407 new COVID-19 cases Tuesday

14 deaths, no new outbreaks in the health care system

A Cessna 170 airplane similar to the one pictured above is reported to be missing off the waters between Victoria and Washington State. Twitter photo/USCG
Canadian, American rescue crews searching for missing aircraft in waters near Victoria

The search is centered around the waters northeast of Port Angeles

The North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP have arrested a prolific offender who is now facing more than 40 charges. (Black Press file photo)
‘Priority offender’ arrested in Cowichan Valley faces more than 40 charges

Tyler Elrix, 37, had a history of evading police; was ordered not to be in Vancouver Island

B.C. Premier John Horgan listens during a postelection news conference in Vancouver on Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
30% of B.C. recovery benefit applications held up in manual review

The province says 150 staff have been reassigned to help with manually reviewing applications

Adam Dergazarian, bottom center, pays his respect for Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gianna, in front of a mural painted by artist Louie Sloe Palsino, Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Kobe Bryant’s presence remains strong a year after his death

Tuesday marks the grim anniversary of the crash that took their lives

Surrey RCMP are investigating after a pedestrian was struck and killed at 183 Street and Highway 10 Friday night. (File photo)
Modelling of predicted transmission growth from the B117 COVID-19 variant in British Columbia. (Simon Fraser University)
COVID-19 variant predicted to cause ‘unmanageable’ case spike in B.C: report

SFU researchers predict a doubling of COVID-19 cases every two weeks if the variant spreads

The Brucejack mine is 65 km north of Stewart in northwestern B.C. (Pretivm Photo)
B.C. mine executives see bright gleam in post-COVID future

Low carbon drives demand for copper, steelmaking coal

In this Dec. 18, 2020 photo, pipes to be used for the Keystone XL pipeline are stored in a field near Dorchester, Neb.  THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Chris Machian /Omaha World-Herald via AP
Canadians divided over Keystone pipeline, despite U.S. president’s permit pullback

Two-thirds of Canadians think Biden’s decision was a “bad thing” for Alberta

Most Read