Cochrane town council has agreed to the creation of two task forces to help guide the economic and social recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

They've also laid a foundation of its objectives to respond to the crisis.

While a final draft will be brought back to ratify,  each task force will be formed by select members of council, town administration, and specifically-targeted groups. The idea is similar to what some other municipalities have established.

"Obviously, there is going to be a day when we get through this," said Mayor Jeff Genung.  "What does that day look like? Is the town poised to hit the ground running? That is what these two task forces speak to." 

He believes the town needs to be pro-active during the major downturn.

"We heard from the premier tonight that we should be expecting a deep recession, and oil prices to be around $10 a barrel for 18 months. It's a scary thing to start to contemplate, but also there's a whole lot of positive and opportunities available to us as a community that we can act on."

The Economic Recovery Task Force will focus on economic recovery in Cochrane, collaborating with local businesses, community organizations, and higher levels of government to create opportunities in support of our local economy. 

The Social Recovery Task Force will collaborate with local support agencies and other levels of government to support municipal staff and our community's most vulnerable, creating opportunities to enhance well-being, safety, and resilience through our community response and recovery. 

Costs of both will be absorbed through existing operating budgets.

Recognizing physical distancing and self-isolation has become the new normal, objectives have been established to provide reassurance and a clear path forward to build resiliency and recovery.

The objectives will be based upon five basic principles: flatten the curve; maintain appropriate services; support residents; support the business community; plan for recovery.

It is proposed a three-stage approach be taken.

  • Respond: Assist our residents and local businesses in accessing health and financial assistance.
  • Rebuild: Support businesses as they re-open, employees as they return to work and residents as they return to their normal day-to-day lives.
  • Recover: Align with federal and provincial governments to embrace opportunities for our community.  

In the initial draft, membership is outlined but is subject to change at this point.

Business Development Manager Mike Korman will be the lead on the economic task force and include Mayor Jeff Genung, councillor and representatives of the Chamber of Commerce, Cochrane Tourism, the Business Advisory Network, and the town manager of finance

The social task force will lead by FCSS Manager Kim Krawec and include Mayor Genung, councillor and representatives of affordable housing, the Cochrane Rotary Club, Helping Hands, and the Cochrane Activettes.

Both will have a maximum of eight members.