Council recovery plan focused on long-term support
Western Bay of Plenty District Council has agreed on an economic recovery plan to support the local economy and provide relief from the impact of COVID-19.
The plan aims to provide immediate relief and medium to long term support with COVID-19.
It is based on four key themes: direct council financial support; wider economic recovery; community well-being and relationships with Iwi/hapū organisations and marae.
Western Bay Mayor Garry Webber says council is aware of specific issues facing the community as it slowly emerges from the pandemic.
The recovery plan focuses on the key issues for the district and how council can complement government initiatives at a local level.
“We are just one piece of the puzzle in supporting the district’s communities to recover from the pandemic as fast as possible.
“I acknowledge the hard work Priority One and other Western Bay economic development groups, including Te Puke Economic Development Group and Katch Katikati, government agencies and iwi are doing to deal with the medium and longer term impacts of COVID-19 on local business.”
The recovery plan outlines a range of initiatives and support including: targeted rates relief initiatives; waiving annual rent charges for council owned reserves and buildings for 12 months for sport clubs and community organisations; and a targeted freezing of fees for cemetery plot purchase and green waste disposal fees.
A $300,000 ‘COVID-19 Grant’ fund will also be set up for the distribution of one-off grants to community groups/organisations severely affected by COVID-19 through consolidating existing community matching and facilities in the community funds.
Garry explains some of these initiatives are immediate and others will be announced in the coming weeks once worked through with key partners.
“For those who are going through real tough times we are looking at ways to provide swift relief and a helping hand.
“The Western Bay has always had a strong sense of community and it’s important that everyone comes together and supports each other.
“Residents value community connections, looking out for their neighbours and supporting everything local. Through levels 3 and 4 of the COVID-19 response, these bonds have strengthened and there are opportunities to build on this.”