Willoughby City Council’s Business Support Plan, worth up to $1.66 million over six months, was approved at an extraordinary meeting last night.
It offers relief on rents, fees and penalties to help support local businesses and community groups through the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Business Support Plan includes:
- Rent relief for Council’s restaurants and cafes tenants totalling $573,000 over six months.
- Waiving licences and fees for sporting organisations for up to six months, saving them $600,000.
- Relaxing some infringements that don’t impact on health or safety (eg overstaying a parking meter), valued around $55,000
- Fee concessions for 6 months equating to about $435,000, including waiving some environmental health inspection fees (but not those that directly relate to food hygiene), fire safety fees, footway dining and advertising fees; and a 50% fee reduction for Chatswood Mall Market stallholders
Mayor Gail Giles-Gidney said the Business Support Plan was flexible so it can be revisited if there are further health orders, or benefit from other government assistance.
“We’re in tough times so we moved quickly to create a plan with maximum financial benefit to offset those impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak while ensuring continuation of critical functions and health and safety,” Mayor Giles-Gidney said.
“We recognise the deep and long term impacts of COVID-19 on local small businesses and the flow-on effects to our community.
“A report outlining what we are doing for vulnerable members in our community was also presented to Council.”
To ensure agility and to respond more quickly, the Mayor and Chief Executive Officer were delegated joint authority to make changes to the Business Support Plan as needed.
Councillors also considered a financial strategy to understand the impacts on Willoughby City Council’s bottom line and manage risk, while supporting the community and maintaining major projects.
The full meeting minutes will be available on Council’s website from Friday 3 April 2020.