The final touches are being added to a southwestern Alberta rural recovery task force being chaired by Foothills MP John Barlow that includes Banff-Kananaskis MLA Miranda Rosin.

It's bringing together a broad range of business leaders and the region's federal and provincial government representatives to compare notes on recovery measures taken to date, bring forward suggestions, and strengthen regional business ties on the long road to recovery. 

On Apr. 30, the first webinar was held involving many businesses in the region.

Barlow says the scope of the task force has grown expediently since the original discussion with chambers of commerce and business recovery experts in his riding.

"It started as a conversation about how the programs announced by the federal and provincial governments were helping or not helping and expanded into a much broader discussion on what we can do on a regional basis and use the resources and expertise we have right here."

Barlow and three participating MLAs will then take that message back to their respective colleagues.

"This won't be something that happens overnight," says Barlow. "This will be a longer-term process. Really, we want to connect resources throughout the area to help one and another."

He believes these closer ties are crucial.

"As we come out of this, we're going to have to be much more self-reliant regionally because we're not going to have that tourism traffic, we're not going to have those daytrippers, we're really going to have to start thinking outside the box but also rely on our neighbouring communities a bit more."

MLA Rosin is a strong advocate of involving the private sector to make it a success. She has actively recruited the participation of representatives of the ranching, energy, and tourism/hospitality industry.

In her riding, they include CL Ranches, Highland Stock Farms, EnerCapita Energy, Pursuit Collective, Banff Hospitality Collective, and the Banff Lodging Company.

Other MLAs involved are Highwood's RJ Sigurdson and Roger Reed, of Livingstone-Macleod.