Williams Lake’s economic development officer says several groups are working together to provide supports to business owners impacted by COVID-19. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)

Williams Lake agencies collaborate to support local businesses impacted by COVID-19

‘We are trying to make sure we are making good referrals,’ said City’s economic development officer

Williams Lake’s economic development officer and other organizations are collaborating to offer support to local businesses navigating through the COVID-19 pandemic.

Beth Veenkamp said she has been meeting by teleconference weekly with Downtown Williams Lake, Community Futures, the Williams Lake and District Chamber of Commerce, WorkBC, an economic development officer from the Cariboo Regional District and a provincial representative who has an economic development position as well.

“We are trying to make sure we are making good referrals,” she said, noting they are directing people to Downtown Williams Lake for marketing and Community Futures of the Cariboo Chilcotin for financial advice as examples.

Read more: B.C.’s COVID-19 rent supplement starts taking applications

Williams Lake and District Chamber of Commerce has been reaching out to its rural members, she added.

Lots of people are asking ‘what businesses are open?’ Veenkamp said.

“We are recommending that customers call the businesses before they go there, but we don’t want to put out a big list of everything that is open because we don’t want to be encouraging people to go out and go shopping. It’s a fine line we are dancing.”

Other communities across B.C. are surveying businesses, but Veenkamp said collectively the group decided not to do so.

“I think due to the 2017 wildfires we have some experience with this and I feel like we’ve committed to not add more noise because there is so much information out there. The last thing we want to do right now is survey businesses.”

A big gap they have identified is access to computers.

“If you are trying to apply for any benefits there is nowhere to get computer access. WorkBC is closed, the library is closed, so we are trying to figure out how we can come up with a solution. For every question there is, it takes you down this big rabbit hole.”

Veenkamp said other communities will have the same problem so the local group is asking for a bigger solution from the provincial government.

Downtown Williams Lake had to cancel its spring festival due to the pandemic and has ‘pivoted’ to offer virtual cooking classes, she added.

“We are all working together to support each other. I don’t want people to be duplicating work and I don’t want people to be doing busy work and making lists for the sake of making lists. We also know that when we are allowed back, that’s when the real work happens. Whenever that is.”

Beth Veenkamp said on the City’s website there is a section for business services inquiries and lots of information available at https://www.williamslake.ca/DocumentCenter/View/3037/COVID-19-Business-Resources.

“I even turned my Christmas lights back on a few weeks ago,” she added.

Read more: COVID-19: Williams Lake eyes possible relief measures for businesses


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Williams Lake

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Horsefly Salmon Festival Sept. 19 and 20

An opportunity to celebrate and learn more about salmon

Cariboo firefighters deployed to Oregon

Twenty-three firefighters from the Cariboo Fire Centre are on their way to U.S.

Salvation Army food bank drive Sept. 19 in Williams Lake

Volunteers will be collecting donations from doorsteps

Cops for Cancer Tour de North goes ‘virtual’ in Williams Lake

Two Williams Lake RCMP constables didn’t let a change in plans put… Continue reading

VIDEO: B.C. to launch mouth-rinse COVID-19 test for kids

Test involves swishing and gargling saline in mouth and no deep-nasal swab

Record-breaking 165 new COVID-19 cases diagnosed in B.C. in 24-hour period

Fifty-seven people are in hospital battling the novel coronavirus

B.C. teachers file Labour Relations Board application over COVID-19 classroom concerns

The application comes as B.C.’s second week of the new school year comes to a close

Young Canadians have curtailed vaping during pandemic, survey finds

The survey funded by Heart & Stroke also found the decrease in vaping frequency is most notable in British Columbia and Ontario

Interior Health reports four new cases of COVID-19

First hospitalization since mid-August announced

B.C.’s COVID-19 economic recovery plan: Top 5 things you need to know

Jobs training, tax incentives for employers to hire staff and more

March to protect old growth, stop industrial logging coming to B.C. Legislature

Organizers say they want to give frontline communities a bigger say in nearby logging

B.C. releases details of $1.5B economic recovery plan, $660M in business tax incentives

Economic plan includes support for employers, as well as training for workers

Most Read