For those who want to stay up to date with what’s happening in the City on COVID-19, please join me Mondays and Fridays on the City of Victoria’s Facebook page at 2:30pm. And please share this link and information with your friends and neighbours. This video is my address from Monday. NB for some reason it didn’t post/send on Monday. I’ll post Friday’s address here tomorrow. Sorry for the delay!
We see the federal and provincial governments recently turning their minds to what recovery and reopening might look like. And that is where I, along with Council, will be re focusing some of my energies in the coming weeks. To that end, we’re moving our daily Facebook address to twice a week in order to free up a bit more time so I can turn my mind to the future. It’ll soon be time for the recovery and reinvention we know needs to take place in Victoria and in cities around the world.
There is a lot of work to do! I’ll be sitting on the South Island Prosperity Partnership’s Rising Economy Task Force, and I’ll be revisiting and bringing forward Victoria 3.0, our draft economic development framework for Council’s consideration. We’re working with business leaders and business owners to revise Victoria 3.0 in light of how the economy has drastically changed in the past six weeks.
We’ll also need to have regional conversations about modular housing options, so that – working the Province – we can help ensure that no one goes back to sleeping on the streets.
It’s going to be a strange and quiet summer without all the festivals, and the visitors who usually come here. So I want Council and staff to turn our minds to what we can do to create the lively summer joy that we’re known for in Victoria. We’ll be thinking about things like block parties and what the City can do to support people to come together outside in small groups once some of the restrictions we’re under are lifted, and all the other ways we might be able to slowly and safely come together again.
We also have the Climate Crisis to tackle. And I’m going to do everything in my power – and I know that there is alignment on Council on this – to ensure that as we recover and come out of COVID we double down on our efforts locally and globally to prevent climate catastrophe. From all signals we’ve had from the federal government, their recovery plans and investments will focus heavily on green infrastructure and the creation of low-carbon prosperity.
We’ll also need to re-imagine public spaces to make more room for people to walk, cycle and roll – which we’ve learned is so important during this pandemic.
Even as we turn towards recovery and reinvention, I still think it is important to update you the public on a regular basis. So I will be doing so – and posting here – Mondays and Fridays. And we’d still like to hear about what you’re doing in community – how you’re staying connected, how you’re helping each other. You can drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
News from the federal government
A reminder that as of Monday, businesses can now apply for the Canadian Emergency Wage Subsidy. Companies that qualify will get a subsidy worth 75 per cent of each employee’s wages, up to $847 per week, retroactive from March 15 to June 6. Since the CEWS opened at 6am Eastern time today, well over 10,000 businesses have applied.
News from the City
This is a difficult time for many who rely on the City’s recreation facilities and programs to maintain their physical, mental and emotional health. That’s whey today we’re launching Fun For Life GO! This is a online recreation resource to help us all stay healthy and well during the pandemic and afterwards too.
Fun For Life GO combines ideas from the City’s experts in fitness, children’s programming, older adults and outdoor recreation, and has links to other helpful resources. Staff from the Crystal Pool and Fitness Centre are creating the videos from home to stay connected with residents while recreation facilities remain closed.
The first videos include two strengthening exercises you can do from home without special fitness equipment, two interactive games to keep kids active and engaged at home, and ten ideas to stay active outdoors while practicing physical distancing. Staff will add new videos regularly. Fun For Life GO is a creative way to stay connected and to continue to support residents health and well being during this extended time at home. Check it out!
News from the community
I wanted to let you know that the Victoria Chamber of Commerce is hosting a virtual fireside chat series to address challenges and opportunities in the midst of COVID. I’m was pleased to take part in Tuesday’s chat with Catherine Holt, CEO of the Chamber. We met on the Chamber’s Facebook page and if you missed it you can tune in here.
While I’m on the topic of business, I want to give a shout out to a small local grocer, Aubergine Foods. The Jewish community here in Victoria and world wide recently celebrated Passover. Jewish communities around the world were having trouble sourcing specialty and kosher foods for Passover. So Leon and his team at Aubergine created online platform and began shipping goods around the world to meet demand.
And, now that Passover is over, Leon is still building his global clientele and is now shipping made in Victoria foods and beverages around the world! This is yet another example of the many we’ve been profiling here of local entrepreneurs getting creative and rising to the COVID challenge. Locals can also order online. Check them out here.