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Tumbler Ridge launching economic task force

The District of Tumbler is launching an economic task force to help residents and businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The District of Tumbler is launching an economic task force to help residents and businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The initiative will be a collaboration of local government, business leaders, and residents, confirmed Interim CAO Aleen Torraville.

“It’s still in its infancy; the taskforce has been approved by council. Because we’re such a small community we wanted to include the residents, everyone is affected by this,” said Torraville, noting that they are still gathering information on the impacts.

The taskforce has yet to hold their first meeting, with Mayor Keith Bertrand and Director of Economic Development and Tourism John Powell onboard as representatives. The Chamber of Commerce and Love Tumbler Ridge are also part of the initiative.

According to the chamber, over 120 people have lost their jobs due to the pandemic.

“The last two months have been difficult for many people but devastating for many businesses throughout BC,” says Jerrilyn Schembri, executive director of the Tumbler Ridge Chamber of Commerce.

This includes hairdressers, massage therapists, estheticians and other companies that provide personal services, which have been ordered to close by the province.

Industrial businesses such as trucking, logging and crane services have also been impacted, wrote Schembri in a May 5 update.

Roughly 2,000 people live in the small town which is primarily fueled by coal, wind, and tourism.

No timeline has been set for economic recovery, but two surveys are being released to the public: a residential survey, covering health and employment concerns, and a business survey for local companies.

Email reporter Tom Summer at tsummer@ahnfsj.ca.