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Kawartha Lakes Pandemic Recovery Task Forces wrap up successful terms

Kawartha Lakes –  At the Committee of the Whole meeting on October 5, Council received reports from the two Task Forces that were created to assist Kawartha Lakes to recover from the impacts of the pandemic. The actions adopted will return to Regular Council on October 19 for adoption.

Economic Recovery Task Force

The Task Force members were thanked for their dedication and contributions since May 2020. The members from the public were: Bjorn Alfredsson, Tom Phillips, Jill Quast, and Mark Wilson. Council and Staff appointments included: Mayor Letham, Deputy Mayor Councillor O’Reilly, Councillor Seymour-Fagan, Councillor Veale, Richard Holy, Acting Director of Development Services, and Juan Rojas, Director of Engineering and Corporate Assets.

The Task Force concentrated on three key areas: Critical Infrastructure Investments, Planning and Development Stimulus and Business Recovery and Support.

Key highlights of actions taken to stimulate the local economy:

  • Enhance tourism and local use of amenitiesariel view of downtown Fenelon Falls
    • Downtown Fenelon Falls and Downtown Lindsay Phase 3 reconstruction projects were approved in the 2021 Capital Budget, and both projects are currently in final stages. Learn more on the dedicated project pages for Fenelon Falls and Lindsay.
    • Upgrades on boat launches was approved and work was completed or underway.
    • Supporting the summer tourism season, several service enhancements were put in place for 2021 including an increased number and pick up of garbage cans, availability of washrooms and signage, and summer tourism ambassadors in downtowns and major parks.
    • A focus on the continued development and promotion of trails to support tourism and quality of life for residents is underway in the Trails Master Plan. Learn more at www.jumpinkawarthalakes.ca/trailsmasterplan.
    • Council continues to support the work of EORN and EOWC for the Eastern Ontario “1 GIG” broadband project to improve access for homes and businesses across Kawartha Lakes.
    • Prioritization of approvals and implementation of a number of larger residential and commercial “shovel-ready” projects to act as a construction stimulus within the City. Alongside these efforts, a Concierge Pilot Program was successful in streamlining the customer service experience for development applications in the site plan process.
    • To assist businesses, permit fees for park use, patios and events were waived in 2021 to encourage creative pandemic safe alternatives for supporting business and community activities.
    • The Arts, Culture and Heritage Recovery Fund was established to support cultural not-for-profit organizations, resulting in $149,000 of funding to 10 cultural organizations. To further support the sector, a Cultural Centre Feasibility Study and hiring of a new Economic Development Officer - Curatorial Services are under way.

Community Pandemic Recovery Task Force

Sincere thanks went out to the members including: Co-Chairs Heather Kirby of Kawartha Lakes Food Source and Amy Terrill of BGC Kawartha Lakes, Councillors Ron Ashmore, Pat Dunn, Doug Elmslie and Tracy Richardson, Penny Barton Dyke, United Way of Kawartha Lakes, Marina Hodson, Kawartha North Family Health Team, Lynda Nydam, Children’s Services Council of Kawartha Lakes/Haliburton, Pam Stuckless, Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit. Staff representatives included former Kawartha Lakes Fire Chief, Mark Pankhurst and Director of Human Services, Rod Sutherland.

The Community Pandemic Recovery Fund distributed $288,000 to 15 organizations to support operating costs, technology, personal protective equipment/sanitizing for operations and program development in response to COVID-19.

The Task Force also recommended that Council waive the 50% matching contribution for the Community Project Capital Funding Program for 2021 and 2022 to ensure community organizations could move forward with important projects. Visit the dedicated webpage for more information on the recipients and the projects involved.

A variety of workshops and information sessions were developed and delivered in 2020 and 2021 aimed at building capacity in community agencies for critical skills such as grant writing, social media and digital literacy, mental health supporting strategies. More workshops are on the way including:

  • Strategic planning after COVID-19
  • Wellness Support for Employees and Volunteers
  • Legal and HR Implications for COVID-19
  • Online Fundraising
  • Event Planning Online
  • Communications
  • Volunteer Succession Planning
  • Change Management
  • Grant Writing

Subscribe to the municipal calendar of events to be made aware of upcoming workshops.

To track continued recovery progress, the municipality will complete an annual “vital signs” survey of community services, reporting results to all participants and publishing results starting in 2022.

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