CALGARY, July 18, 2013 /CNW/ - This week the Calgary Business Recovery Task Force, an initiative led by the Calgary Chamber and Calgary Economic Development, begins the next phase of disaster recovery after massive flooding left hundreds of homes and businesses condemned, damaged or without power for several days in June.
The task force aims to get affected businesses up and running as quickly as possible and to ensure the world knows that the city is still open for business, offering a range of support to local businesses and launching a national and international marketing and communications campaign.
The task force knows that Calgary is not the only city to experience natural disasters, and hopes this business task force model might help other jurisdictions in their disaster preparedness planning.
During the flooding, 110,000 Calgarians were evacuated from their homes, 34,000 locations lost power and many public transit services were cancelled or detoured.
The city's immediate response hinged on communicating with the people of Calgary and finding solutions for the issues that most affected the city. In the early days of the flooding, Calgary's information phone line received 100,000 calls and four customer service centres were established to answer questions about permits, property taxes and more. Within 24 hours, 1,000 lane kilometres of road were swept downtown and within a week of the flood, 100 metres of track were replaced to get the city's light rail transit system back up and running. Of the 15,000 businesses that were closed due to flooding and related issues, only 100 remain still closed.
The task force intends to carry that momentum forward as it begins the next phase of recovery for Calgary's economy.
On the importance of post-disaster support for small businesses, Adam Legge, President and CEO, Calgary Chamber, said, "Many smaller companies that experience a disaster without preparedness plans may never re-open. We are doing everything we can to help businesses in the Calgary region open and get back to business as quickly as possible."
Ensuring continued business and tourism is equally critical to the region's economic wellbeing post-flood.
"Building on Tourism Calgary's national marketing campaign launched in early July, our task force will do its part by embarking on a complementary communications and marketing campaign to ensure the world knows that companies in Calgary are ready for their business," said Bruce Graham, President and CEO, Calgary Economic Development. "We're the same Calgary we've always been. If anything, we're a stronger, more resilient city."
Canadians are encouraged to continue planning summer holidays and winter getaways in the Calgary area. As another successful Stampede week has come to an end, Calgary's hotels, attractions, restaurants and bars have proven to be as hospitable as ever.
Alberta Deputy Premier Thomas Lukaszuk credits Calgary's speedy recovery to the camaraderie exhibited by Calgarians throughout the flooding. "At times like this collaboration is key to getting communities rebuilt and businesses up and operating as quickly as possible," said Lukaszuk. "I am delighted to see the co-operation of the Calgary Business Recovery Task Force and I'm proud that Canadians can come together from coast to coast to support each other through difficult times such as these.
The task force is comprised of the following local and national organizations: The Calgary Chamber of Commerce, Calgary Economic Development, Government of Alberta, Tourism Calgary, Calgary Hotel Association, City of Calgary, C-Biz and Calgary's Business Revitalization Zones (Bowness, Montgomery, Calgary Downtown Association, Uptown 17th, Fourth Street, Inglewood, Kensington, and Victoria Park), Calgary Chinese Merchants Association, Canadian Federation of Independent Business, Haskayne School of Business, Bissett School of Business, and Calgary Counselling Centre.
SOURCE: Calgary Business Recovery Task Force
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