DAN CEARNS, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, for The Standard
BROCK: The Township of Brock has made a decision to help out some of the businesses in the township financially that have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. At a meeting on Monday, May 25th, council agreed to allocate $150,000 toward a program being called the Brock Emergency Response Benefit. Council also decided to have the funds administered by South Lake Community Futures Development Corporation. “It’s so important that we support our local businesses. With the help of South Lake Community Futures Development Corporation, we’re able to do this. I support this,” Ward 2 Councillor Claire Doble said. Mayor Debbie Bath-Hadden stressed the importance of supporting downtown businesses. “Our business community [is] struggling right now, especially in our downtown cores. That’s what this emergency benefit is for,” she said. Through the program, local businesses in the township could receive up to $5,000. To be eligible, businesses need to be located in the township and be a registered business, must be able to demonstrate a 30 percent loss of income from the previous year, must have closed or partially closed operations at some point during the pandemic and must be able to demonstrate the ability to maintain operations for 6 months prior to this pandemic. Also, those ineligible for funding include corporate owned franchises, distributorships, not-for-profit or charitable organizations and businesses that only operate online. But Regional Councillor Ted Smith felt this program would not help enough businesses. “The earlier report mentioned 557 businesses in Brock, which was higher than I expected,” Councillor Smith said. “We’re going to help about 40 with this funding. I just don’t see that it is going to have much of an impact.” However, Ward 4 Councillor Cria Pettingill suggested the township could look at adding more funds to the program later if a bigger need from the local business community is demonstrated. Businesses could begin submitting applications for this program on Monday, June 1st, and the intake period will run until June 15th.