The Lacombe Economic Action Partnership (LEAP) is looking to help the Lacombe business community during and following the COVID-19 crisis.
LEAP, which is a off-shoot of the Echo Lacombe association is comprised of community members, local business people and representatives from the Burman University School of Business, the City of Lacombe and the Lacombe and District Chamber of Commerce and Chamber Executive Director Monica Bartman said their goal is help the community through the unique business challenges of the pandemic.
“There is an immediate focus at looking at what would be the most helpful right now and then moving forward when things start to turn the corner. We are looking at how we can provide supports and put things in place so that our community comes out of this the strongest way possible,” she said.
Bartman said they intend their projects, which are still in development, will be project based — similar in spirit to openlacombe.ca, which was launched earlier this month.
Currently, the group in looking to produce locally-focused webinars to provide Lacombe with resources specific to their community.
“Our goal would be to bring in some local folks and put some tangible resources out there with the help of the team from Burman University,” Bartman said.
Bartman said they are relying on the business community to spearhead the types of initiatives LEAP hopes to put forward.
Recently, the City of Lacombe chose not to allocate funding to LEAP previously used on the BOLT transit system — which will end later this year which Bartman said was a decision they understood given LEAP’s projects have not be outlined our budgeted yet.
“They did approve in-kind use of the Lacombe Memorial Centre for meetings space. Once we are able to get together face-to-face, this group will have access to the facility which is wonderful,” she said.
Bartman said they intend to go to council again once they have clear objectives.
“We are optimistic they will consider participating at that point with funding. They were supportive of the idea and direction that we are hoping to take this,” she said.
LEAP is still in the community feedback phase of their plans and recently completed a survey which had promising numbers.
“Within 24 hours of the survey we had 40 responses already,” Bartman said.
Bartman said their will be more opportunities for community input going forward and said anyone with ideas can contact her by email at email@example.com.
“This is a collaborative conversation with the local business community. They are the ones that need to try to keep the lights on and keep their staff paid and employed,” she said
She added, “It is our goal to have the business community lead these priorities and telling us what they need. That will allow us to hopefully provide some supports.”