As many Central Okanagan businesses work towards re-opening their doors in alignment with the Province’s BC Restart Plan, the Regional Mayors’ and WFN Chief’s Economic Recovery Task Force (Economic Recovery Task Force) held its second meeting to develop actions to influence long-term economic recovery in the Central Okanagan. 

While some industries like tourism and hospitality felt severe and immediate impacts, others have experienced or expect to experience delayed impacts over the next several months to years. In order to determine actions and tactics to position the regional economy for a strong recovery, it is imperative that Economic Recovery Task Force members have a clear understanding of industry challenges. 

To support the Economic Recovery Task Force, the COEDC is hosting a series of Industry Roundtables throughout the months of May and June 2020. The roundtables, hosted through the COEDC Advisory Council with additional industry representation, focus on understanding the local economic impacts experienced by industry and identifying industry recovery needs. 

To date, Industry Roundtables have been held for Small Business, Aerospace, Manufacturing and Construction and Development. Arts, Culture and Recreation and Post-Secondary Education roundtables will be held in late June. Industry outreach to the Agriculture and Technology sectors will follow. 

The roundtable results called “Early Indicator Summaries” were presented to the Task Force on June 16, 2020 and are available to the public at investkelowna.com/taskforce. 

Key Findings:

  • 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 programing 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.

 

As a result of yesterday’s meeting, the Economic Recovery Task Force provided guidance in the development of a regional advocacy strategy to work with senior levels of governments to address gaps in some of the existing aid programs and to share specific issues and concerns identified by industry in the Roundtables. COEDC staff have begun work to develop and implement the strategy immediately. 

“We know businesses across the Central Okanagan have experienced a variety of impacts from COVID-19. While some industries were impacted early on, others are only beginning to see impacts now” said Economic Recovery Task Force Co-Chair and RDCO Chair Gail Given. “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.”

“Direct industry intelligence allows us to respond effectively, communicate regional business needs and position ourselves for new economic opportunities like funding programs from senior governments as we work towards economic recovery.” said Economic Recovery Task Force Co-Chair and Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran. “These outcomes will lead to a regional advocacy strategy to ensure the voice of the Central Okanagan is heard.”

To keep up to date on the Economic Recovery Task Force actions and current resources for local businesses, visit the Central Okanagan Economic Development Commission at investkelowna.ca.

 

 

For more information, contact:

Regional Board Chair Gail Given

Regional District of Central Okanagan

250-575-7079 or gail.given@rdco.com

 

Mayor Colin Basran

City of Kelowna

250-469-8687 or cbasran@kelowna.ca

 

Director of Economic Development Corie Griffiths

Regional District of Central Okanagan

250-469-6280 or cgriffiths@investkelowna.com