Coronavirus: Northumberland County economic recovery task force delivers final recommendations

File photo of Northumberland County building.
File photo of Northumberland County building. Northumberland County

When it comes to recovery from the coronavirus pandemic, the Northumberland Economic Recovery Task Force has identified six recommendations that need to be addressed.

In its final report, the task force incorporated its first three recommendations that were shared on June 4.

Those included tackling the broadband deficits across the county, powering businesses to transition to online and fueling consumer confidence.

READ MORE: Coronavirus — Northumberland County economic recovery task force delivers initial recommendations

“Based on key insight shared by diverse local businesses about the very real impacts of this pandemic on their operations, the Task Force has delivered a made-in-Northumberland blueprint for reigniting the local economy,” co-chair Brendan Cunneen said.

The three new recommendations include enhancing the personal protective equipment (PPE) supply chain, investing in workplace mental health, and developing targeted economic recovery actions especially for women, youth and older workers.

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“By drawing on the vast expertise and entrepreneurial spirit of our local business community, the Task Force has identified concrete measures for achieving economic stabilization and growth in the months ahead. The County will continue to advance essential work already underway in support of the recommendations released today. By working together, we will rebuild for a thriving future,” said co-chair Dan Borowec.

The task force, which is now complete, consisted of 69 business owners and leaders and was led by the county’s economic development department.

All six recommendations are at varying stages of completion.

For example, the county has brought in a consultant to identify the gaps in service in the area and workshops are being set up to help businesses transition to an online model.

READ MORE: EORN to propose billion-dollar rural broadband internet expansion

“We didn’t want to come out of this with our hand out to government. We wanted to take ownership, at least at the start, for each of these recommendations,” Cunneen said. “We want to move these recommendations forward so we continue to have ownership.”

“Ultimately, we will need funding but it should be viewed as an investment over term,” Borowec said.

The recommendations were endorsed by county council in late July.

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While the task force has now completed its mandate, Cunneen said that it would continue to be at an arms’ length from the county on an ad hoc basis.

If it’s needed during the implementation of the recommendations or for anything else, it’s ready to help out.

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