As we continue to deal with the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic, the City of Burlington is still very much open for business while continuing to do everything we can to support our small shops – the backbone of our local economy.
On Sept. 23, I was a panel speaker for the Building Industry and Land Development (BILD) Association’s Mayors and Chairs Virtual Conservation Series No. 5.
I spoke about how Burlington was impacted by COVID-19 and how we’re dealing with the situation on an ongoing basis. I was also asked questions related to development in Burlington.
Through our conversation, I learned BILD released an online Municipal Benchmarking Study in September 2020 that found Burlington is No. 2 in terms of planning features, government charges and application approvals timelines among the 18 Ontario municipalities studied. To view the chart in the online study, head to bit.ly/BILDBenchmarkingStudySept2020.
This is great news for Burlington because not only does it reflect how open for business we are as a city, but that we’ve effectively cut the red tape to keep that business flowing – particularly during a global pandemic.
Council recently approved investing in our Planning Department, adding more planners, converting contract positions to full-time and restructuring services. This will occur in several stages over the next year and beyond.
As a City, we’re also doing a lot to help our local businesses remain open during COVD-19.
Team Burlington (Burlington Economic Development, Burlington Chamber of Commerce, Burlington Downtown Business Association, Aldershot Village BIA and Tourism Burlington) joined the City and POST Promise to offer a Burlington Safe Restart grant program, from Sept. 29-Oct. 13, to provide financial support to our small business community related to COVID-19 costs.
Businesses could use the up to $2,500 one-time grant towards purchasing personal protective equipment (PPE), renovating a physical space to adhere to public health guidelines, or purchasing signage and/or barriers.
The program was directly linked to the POST Promise, a private-sector initiative, in collaboration with various levels of government, designed to help Canadians confidently and safely visit public spaces and the workplace. By making the POST Promise, businesses are also educated and receive training on how to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
The City of Burlington has taken the POST Promise and is encouraging other businesses to do so.
In addition, Burlington Ec Dev (on behalf of the Burlington Economic Recovery Network – BERN) recently received a $50,000 grant from Digital Main Street Ontario to create a Digital Service Squad to help our main street small businesses use digital technologies to adapt to a rapidly-changing environment due to the pandemic. More information is available by emailing email@example.com.
These truly are difficult times, but the City of Burlington is here for our business community to ensure they can continue contributing to our local economy.