The COVID19 pandemic has been challenging for everyone, including businesses in the Cowichan Valley, and the CVRD, along with its partners is launching a needs assessment.

Cowichan Strong has partnered with the regional district and is made up of Economic Development Cowichan, the Duncan/Cowichan Chamber of Commerce, and Community Futures Cowichan.

This group is reaching out to the business community to assess the effects the pandemic has had and continues to have right here at home.

The Manager of Economic Development Cowichan, Barry O’Riordan said a series of post-disaster needs assessment surveys are meant to provide local information that will help guide the next steps.

We want to “Gain a local snapshot of evolving economic conditions in Cowichan, resulting from COVID19 and do this in step with the provincial government’s four-phase restart plan, so that we’re getting this information on the ground, as the economy is starting to reopen,” said O’Riordan.

He said, “The information coming out of it is going to be shared and be used as a tool to inform our next steps towards recovery.”

The Province, the BC Chamber of Commerce, and industry-specific surveys are collecting information, but they don’t have Cowichan Valley-specific data about the economic impacts of COVID19 here at home.

O’Riordan said this needs assessment includes a series of surveys which are meant to show what the evolving economic conditions brought on by the COVID19 pandemic look like on a local scale.

“None of those surveys (from the Province, BC Chamber of Commerce, or industry-specific) are releasing information or have information on a sub-regional level, but this would be meant to get a grasp on what’s happening at the local level, what are the key challenges businesses are facing to recover,” said O’Riordan.

O’Riordan expects three surveys to come out in the next three months and said they are short, each taking about seven minutes to complete.