COVID-19 impact a main focus of Durham Regional Chair’s address
DAN CEARNS, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, for The Standard
DURHAM: Regional Chair of Durham John Henry updated local residents and business owners during a virtual luncheon event put on by the Scugog Chamber of Commerce on Thursday, June 25th. Dominating the conversation was the topic of the local impact of COVID-19. Wednesday, June 24th marked three months since Chair Henry declared a state of emergency in Durham. “It was the first time the Region has ever declared a state of emergency. Like all of you, our regional team had to act quickly to modernize the way we do business,” Chair Henry told those who were listening. But he said the Region remains committed to supporting Durham’s economy. “Early in the pandemic, we formed the Durham economic task force, a collaborative response team made up of Durham Region’s economic development team and tourism team, the business advisory centre in Durham, all of Durham’s boards of trade, local and municipal economic development teams, our BIAs, [and] our chambers of commerce.” The Regional Chair then discussed two recently approved initiatives. “The first was our new Durham Region strategic plan. As a corporation, the Region strives to be an innovative, sustainable, future oriented organization. This plan lays out our priorities, and sets achievements, goals for short and long term gains. This plan reflects the desire to capitalize on Durham’s legacy as builders going forward,” he explained. The second passed initiative was the Regional Recovery Framework and Action Plan. “Our regional recovery framework is centered on four pillars: Social, Built, Economic and Municipal,” Chair Henry said. More information on these documents can be found online at www.durham.ca. But Chair Henry noted the ongoing pandemic will be taken into account in all future planning. “We now know that COVID-19 will continue to impact us for months, even years. So every decision we make will require a Covid lens,” he said. Chair Henry said the Region is set to take a fiscal hit of about $40.5 million due to this pandemic. “We’re advocating for relief from the provincial and federal governments,” Chair Henry stated.