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Cambridge approves economic response plan

Kitchener, Waterloo, and the Region have all done the same
CAMBRIDGE
File Photo by Ben Eppel/KitchenerToday

NEWS RELEASE
CITY OF CAMBRIDGE
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During a special virtual council meeting today, Cambridge City Council passed an Economic Response Plan which includes a series of measures to support local residents, businesses, and workers during the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Under Cambridge’s Economic Response Plan, the City will launch immediate relief actions, including grace periods for penalties and interest on property taxes and water utility bills, and relaxed parking enforcement.  City staff remains committed to continuing to review additional opportunities in the coming weeks.

"The safety and health of the public has been our first priority as this crisis unfolds but we also need to ensure that we are doing everything we can to help both our residents and our businesses who are being financially impacted,” said Mayor Kathryn McGarry.

"As we are requiring non-essential businesses to shut, the federal and provincial governments are putting support programs in place, and the City has to do its part. We won’t know the full impacts of COVID-19 for some time but we know people are already hurting, and our Economic Response Plan will help them.”

The City continues to offer its services in support of the business community as well as the development industry. The INVESTCambridge team is available by phone or email to help business owners navigate through this difficult period. A dedicated webpage has been developed in an effort to share timely information and business resources. As well, the City will be promoting local #cbridge restaurants and businesses who are offering online services through an interactive map.

Service Cambridge also remains open to assist residents by phone at (519) 623-1340. Following the recommendation of health officials, City staff across the organization are currently working from home where possible and can be contacted by email or phone on city-related business.

The plan augments recently announced federal and provincial financial aid programs, as well as a wider coordinated economic response with the local Cambridge Chamber of Commerce, area-municipalities, Waterloo Economic Development Corporation, the Region of Waterloo and other partners.

The initial actions are listed below and more actions will be added as the situation evolves and as we receive feedback directly from the business community and residents.

Economic Response Plan

Immediate relief and flexibility for residents and businesses

  • Waive penalties, interest, late payment charges and other fees related to property taxes and water billing until June 1.
  • Suspend any water meter disconnections.
  • Suspend the transfer of overdue water accounts to the property tax account to assist landlords
  • Eased enforcement of parking, including, on and off street parking time limits, paid parking and core area parking lots.
  • Waive interest on any general invoices from the City until June 1.
  • Deferring payments for annual business license renewals until June 1.
  • Suspend the non-sufficient fund administration fee for returned payments until June 1.
  • Suspend collection of rent from vendors of the Cambridge Farmers’ Market and examine other leased properties owned by the City.

Keeping our community informed

  • Launched business support resource page www.investcambridge.ca/covid19.
  • Ongoing direct business outreach and dialogue with the three Business Area Associations through the INVEST Cambridge team.
  • Ongoing communication via social media and newsletters about Provincial and Federal programs including calls for supplies and retooling.
  • Providing the Provincial Government with an updated list of Cambridge businesses that manufacture or supply products that may be required to assist with COVID-19 and their #OntarioTogether initiative.

Business services – invest@cambridge.ca

  • Develop new interactive map highlighting local restaurants and businesses offering take out and online services.
  • All business services under INVESTCambridge are available remotely - invest@cambridge.ca; or 519-740-4685
  • Small business consultations and guidance available by phone or email - invest@cambridge.ca; or 519-740-4685
  • Working with Small Business Centre partners to look at the creation of webinars on accessing government supports, training and relevant topics to the business community.
  • Work with vendors of the Cambridge Farmers’ Market on alternate ways to offer services.                                                        

Supporting investment in Cambridge

To keep businesses and builders investing in Cambridge the city will continue to provide the below services:

  • Development facilitation services
  • Processing of development applications
  • Processing of building permit applications, along with inspections. 

Partnerships

  • Working with regional partners to ensure a coordinated approach to supports and access to provincial and federal funding programs over the longer term.

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