ABC Council discusses Covid-19 recovery plan

ABC Council discusses Covid-19 recovery plan
Adam Morton

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Adam Morton

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Local Democracy Reporter

COUNCILLORS from across Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council will be involved in the creation of the council’s Covid-19 recovery plan, members have been informed.

At last week’s virtual meeting, the council’s Chief Executive, Roger Wilson said the borough’s councillors would play their part in the formulation of the council’s recovery plan.

“There have been announcements about lifting some restrictions and we welcome those,” said the Chief Executive.

“It is important to note that we are in the response stage of this situation. However, that does not mean that we do not need to think about recovery.

“We need to think about our borough, our community and our business community.

“With the release of the details around moving out of lockdown, officers are working towards a plan that members will have input on.”

The Chief Executive also outlined what the plan needs to do and what those who are constructing it, need to have in mind as they formulate it.

“The plan is at an early stage,” said Mr Wilson. “It will need to have a number of core principles protecting the public and our staff.

“It must also be consistent with government guidance, take affordability and financial stability of this council into consideration as well as meet the fluidity and flexibility likely to be required as the changes are announced at short notice.”

The DUP’s group leader, Councillor Mark Baxter said he was keen to see member involvement with the recovery plan.

“This will be an extremely complex issue, a wide range of decisions will have to be made,” said Councillor Baxter.

“Hopefully it can be brought to members as soon as possible.”

The Chief Executive reassured him that members will be involved as he said: “This is so complex, your input will be fundamental in it.”

The SDLP’s group leader, Councillor Thomas O’Hanlon said members will play an important role in the recovery plan and the importance of ensuring the plan ensures communities, not just businesses, are helped.

“It is important that any recovery plan goes beyond just businesses,” said Councillor O’Hanlon.

“It needs to be brought back for members in due course as it is important that elected members are involved in it. It is important that there is involvement in it from members right across the borough.”

In response to this, the council’s Chief Executive said that the local community and local economy are of equal importance and will be so in any recovery plan put forward by council.

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