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Maintaining services a top priority for economic task force

By Chris Jones/The Oshawa Express

As council prepares to come back, the head of the city’s Economic Recovery Task Force says his number one priority is continuing to provide expected services.

Ward 2 City and Regional Councillor Tito-Dante Marimpietri was named the head of Oshawa’s Economic Recovery Task Force by Mayor Dan Carter early on during the pandemic, and he says his goal has been to maintain the services everybody expects from the city, and to make sure the pandemic has as little of an impact as possible.

“These are not normal circumstances… and we’ll remember them for generations, and they’re ones that we’ve had to take decisive and some dramatic measures to be able to sustain,” he says.

Ultimately the number one priority for Marimpietri is to allow residents and businesses to continue operating as normally as possible despite the pandemic.

While Oshawa has seen a number of building records over the last few months, with the highest June since 1986 at $62.93 million in industrial permit value, Marimpietri admits this isn’t the norm.

“We’ve been very diligent about producing at city hall. It’s also a reflection on the confidence of the administration and council and staffs ability to be able to provide that level of service and providing the permits in a timely manner, and in a way that businesses can rely on,” he says.

But at the same time, Marimpietri admits it would be tone deaf to not acknowledge all of the problems which Oshawa and the rest of the world have faced during the pandemic.

“I think what I’ve maintained is that I continue to have the confidence in our community and our team to… remain cognizant of the effects of COVID, not only short-term but long-term, and respect what the outcomes may be, and prepare for them as best we can,” he says.

But he does hope to be as cautiously optimistic as possible while providing the services the community needs and relies on the city to provide.

When it comes to COVID-19, Marimpietri admits there have been economic consequences despite the task forces best efforts.

He says the exact number of jobs lost and other economic effects of the virus are not yet known in the city, but will be discovered in time.

“Obviously with the federal government’s intervention, and the province’s, you’ll see less of that in the interim,” he says. “But as things continue to move forward, and as some of those programs end or shift gears, you’ll start hearing a little bit more about which jobs or which sectors are… the ones that have been most impacted.”

He says while he can guess which industries have been affected the most, such as service industries, it’s yet to be seen how other industries have been affected.

For Marimpietri, he says part of why he cares so much is because Oshawa is his hometown.

“Oshawa is my hometown, and I love this community and the people in it who bring it to life,” he says.

Marimpietri says Oshawa’s local economy has historically experienced setbacks, but rarely anything as devastating as a global pandemic.

“This is an unprecedented time in our history, and I want the community to know that by no stretch of the imagination is this an easy task, but I certainly am honoured to have been chosen to head the daunting and unprecedented task as chair of the economic recovery portfolio.”

Marimpietri says he will continue to “take the bull by the horns,” and will do his best to make sure the City of Oshawa continues in its recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.