As we start to adjust to our new COVID-19 reality, and try to plan for the post-COVID-19 reality that is yet to come, it is time to start thinking about what the consequences are and prepare to help those people and organizations who depend on the City and its residents for their continuing operations. As I have said many times, we need to prioritize, organize, and execute what we do as a City, and clearly, that is what we must be doing now.
The first thing we must do is get a grip on the scope and scale of what the organizations and facilities are at risk to lose, due to their loss in revenues because of the widespread shut-downs. Organizations such as the Edmonton Federation of Community Leagues, the Arts Council, the Sports Council, and the various festival organizations such as Heritage Days all need to take stock of their operational shortfalls and compile their bills in short order. Priority must be given to the physical infrastructure such as Community League Halls, Soccer Centers, and Arts and Cultural facilities like the Winspear, so we have a full understanding of the costs of keeping the heat and the lights on. Remember – these facilities will have had no revenue due to program and rental cancelations, and there is no firm date in the future when they will start back up again. We need to understand (at least quarterly) what the ongoing costs are going to be so we can get the asks into the City and Provincial governments as soon as we are able. Keeping the heat on is our first priority. Then, we can deal with the lost revenues and employee shortfalls.
I have sent requests to the above organizations asking for their operational shortfalls. If you belong to a group that falls under one of these organizations and have not yet been contacted by them, please reach out to them. This will help us create the most complete financial report possible so that we can make a single ask. Let’s use our time wisely and start adding up how much money we are going to need moving forward.