Helping local people, businesses and industries recover from the global COVID-19 pandemic and prosper in the future is the focus of a COVID-19 Response and Recovery Plan that has been endorsed by Coffs Harbour City Council.
“We have been very aware from the start of this crisis that planning for the recovery is the key to seeing our community emerge stronger than ever in the long run,” said Coffs Harbour Mayor Councillor Denise Knight. “Our initial support measures for local businesses and organisations have assisted during the pandemic, but now we’re beginning the longer term recovery phase and we are going to do everything we can at the local government level to help our community recover and recover well.”
The Plan identifies key directions for Council’s response and recovery process which are to:
- Work with State and Federal Governments to ensure each level is best responding within their own means;
- Recognise and respond to those in our community that are most in need;
- Invest and refocus Council’s resources in line with community and business needs, now and in the future; and
- Position and activate key projects to facilitate investment locally.
“From the onset of the pandemic, Council has closely monitored the situation and moved quickly to identify and implement opportunities to reduce immediate impacts, such as introducing a Local Business Support Plan,” said Steve McGrath, Council’s General Manager. “Through a phased approach, the Plan provides a clear pathway of initiatives that will help support individuals and households, the community as a whole, as well as businesses and industries.”
The COVID-19 Pandemic Response and Recovery Plan is the product of meetings, workshops and roundtable events with key stakeholders including local community organisations and commercial enterprises. Data on residents’ experience of COVID-19 from this year’s Council’s Customer Satisfaction Survey and Community Wellbeing Survey also assisted in the Plan’s development.
The initiatives outlined in the Plan range from:
- Using Council programs, facilities and open spaces to encourage social connection and education opportunities;
- Continue support for financial hardship arising from COVID-19 in relation to Council services;
- Advocate for high level economic and social support from State and Federal Government;
- Expand on Council’s social support programs with a focus on digital access and literacy, as well as strengthen partnerships with local organisations to encourage more opportunities for community activities and inclusiveness;
- Help local businesses by promoting the #buylocal message to the community, review Council’s procurement to maximise opportunities for local companies and streamline small-scale development approvals that provide work for local tradespeople;
- Grow our tourism and event attraction initiatives, as well as inward investment and relocation opportunities; and
- Bring forward infrastructure works and large-scale planning opportunities with the potential to assist local employment.