'Critical to support local businesses': Paddi Creevey encourages the community to collaborate post-COVID

Photo: Supplied.

Photo: Supplied.

These past two months have certainly seen life as we know it change at a rapid pace with all the disruption and uncertainty that comes with it.

While our number one priority during the time of initial response has been the health and safety of our communities, we've also been keenly aware of the economic impacts on our local economy and the critical need to support our local businesses.

We needed a deep understanding of the effects the pandemic has had on the Peel Region to make sure we could inform government of the real impact.

This has been vital for government agencies, industry and community working together to develop support and recovery initiatives for our region.

Tourism, hospitality, and retail are key sectors in our region that have been severely impacted.

Of course, they do not stand alone.

We are now into the recovery phase.

Knowing what people are experiencing on the ground, in those businesses and out in the community gives us a real chance of advocating for support and long-term initiatives that take into account our special circumstances and that will build our region up and contribute to future prosperity.

The Commission's role is that of regional leadership as well as advocating and ensuring support for our community members and businesses.

By working with local government, organisations and industry, we are informing the Minister for Regional Development and our local members of the impacts in the region.

This assists the state government in developing recovery initiatives that fit our region's needs both in the short and long term.

Understanding the real impact on the region means we're able to advocate for support that will have a real impact on our region's recovery and the ability of our organisations and businesses to create, retain and renew jobs lost during COVID-19.

The Peel Chamber of Commerce has played a key role in collecting that crucial intelligence by facilitating the Sustained Impact Survey and I commend them for supporting our business community in this way.

I also commend the local government authorities of the region for their response to the pandemic and the support they have provided the people of our region.

Their outstanding efforts have been key to keeping our communities well informed and well advised as to their own health and wellbeing as well as preserving a sense of community and connection as the basis of our regional resilience.

Read more:

We are also fortunate to have state government support for the Regional Economic Development grants, which are now open for applications until July 7.

Up to $250,000 is available for projects that help create sustainable jobs, expand industry, develop skills and capability, attract new investment or maximise recovery from COVID-19 impacts to the region.

It's a chance for Peel organisations to access support for projects that make a real contribution to the Peel community at a time when investing in our regional resilience is particularly relevant.

I encourage the local community to take advantage of this positive investment to grow our region and speak to the Commission about preparing an application.

I want to acknowledge all the Commission Staff, led by our chief executive Andrew Ward, who have worked so hard over this period and thank them for their commitment to this region.

This is a long road and there are no easy or immediate answers.

But what we know is that with a collaborative approach and open minds and a strong belief in our future, we do have an opportunity to explore different ways of doing things that might mean we're a stronger region for it.

We have learnt a lot about ourselves, we have had time to reflect and think about how we might do things differently or better in the future.

We have many talented and creative people - that is our richest resource.

We've not experienced anything like this before, but we can support each other, reach out and use the resources and skills available.

Paddi Creevey is the chair of the Peel Development Commission.