By Chris Jones/The Oshawa Express
As COVID-19 continues to strike at the world economy, Oshawa Mayor Dan Carter has put together an Economic Recovery Task Force.
Leading the charge will be Ward 2 City and Regional Councillor Tito-Dante Marimpietri as chair of the task force.
The task force will identify actions to support the needs of Oshawa businesses impacted by COVID-19, and will focus on economic support and recovery for these local businesses.
Speaking with The Oshawa Express, Carter explains he chose Marimpietri for a number of reasons.
“He is our chair of development services [in Oshawa], and also the vice-chair of works at the Region of Durham,” explains Carter. “His specialty and his focus is really on the business world. He also comes from the entrepreneur side of it, also from a family business, and he’s been involved in corporate business.”
Carter adds he thinks it is a good fit for Marimpietri to chair the committee.
“He’s a pretty smart guy,” says Carter.
Marimpietri explains the task force will be made up of experts within the community, ranging from professionals at Ontario Tech University and Durham College, to economists, to local small business operators, larger corporations, and city staff.
“This is the kind of work that we’ve been doing behind the scenes already to be able to hit the ground running when the time comes,” Marimpietri says. “A lot of the outcome in terms of how COVID continues to effect our local economy will be contingent on how the global economic outlook is moving forward.”
He notes preparing locally is something he’s been adamant about from the start, and this task force is an example of the work the City of Oshawa is doing in particular.
“I think we’re the only municipality at this point to have launched a task force, but it was after a great deal of work internally, and a tremendous amount of foresight, and a lot of genuine firsthand understanding of the impacts that continue to be incurred and felt through the local economy, and by our community, and the many families and small businesses [in Oshawa],” says Marimpietri.
He adds a lot of these families are supported by jobs currently housed in the local economy.
Marimpietri understands the role he is taking is not a small one, calling it a “tremendous pressure.”
“It’s definitely a position which offers a great deal more workload than any task force committee or previous council involvement to date,” he says. “The undertaking is as daunting as it is emotional, because a lot of this is out of our hands and reach.”
However, Marimpietri believes if they get input from those directly affected, as well as the rest of the community, the task force can certainly work to help those in need.
“I think from the outside looking in, some may see the task force with a different lens, but I assure you from the inside looking out, it’s a very serious undertaking,” he says.
He adds everyone has a role to play, and when the mayor called for him to chair the task force, he “answered the call.”
“The responsibility of [the task force is] helping gather community experts and inspire creative ideas, and attract the necessary resources and measures to be able to advance the task force and its main object, which is to help the local economy,” says Marimpietri.
One thing Marimpietri hopes to do with the task force is to maintain the speed of service and responsiveness of the municipal government during the pandemic.
He hopes to ensure that approvals for small business needs are met and in the same expeditious and timely manner made during the emergency state during the pandemic.
“I strongly believe we need to apply the very same principle and objective that I, as chair, have urged be implemented in the development services department,” he says, adding this philosophy needs to be applied “across the board in the corporation and throughout our city’s way of doing business”.
Essentially Marimpietri hopes to continue doing things as quickly and expeditiously under normal circumstances as the city has been doing while in a state of emergency.