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COVID-19 Recovery Meeting: Construction on April 16, 2020

The Prince Edward Chamber of Commerce, The Picton BIA, and The Municipal Business & Economy Task Team, in cooperation with the Municipal Community Services, Programs & Initiatives Department, have partnered to bring more coordinated resources to the business owners of Prince Edward County during the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Part of the strategy to provide resources, and to have a line of direct contact with the business community, is a series of Industry-Focused Meetings which will take place via Zoom on Tuesday and Thursday mornings at 10am.

COVID-19 Recovery Meeting: Construction on April 16, 2020

Councillors Phil St Jean & Mike Harper made opening comments/greetings and went over protocol of the meeting attendants
The group was asked how do we restart the Construction Industry? We are in Red zone right now, and
want to move to orange then yellow then green.

Peter : Sage Design – his top 3 issues
• Need income and need to keep working. He is down to 1/3 of his normal crew
• Getting new work set up and how to get it to happen
• How the government programs will roll out and when and will they qualify
He also has concerns on safety sanitizing protocol on job sites

Scott : SJR – Concerns re: sanitizing and wash stations and lack of them and how to get them. He shut down his business as of March 23rd so is not currently operating. They decided to close and put everything on pause due to Employee health issues and their own family health issues. He has only looked into government offers a bit and isn’t sure they will work for them. He is reluctant to utilize them because he is concerned about the costs long term.

Adam : Picton Home Hardware (PHH) – He is concerned about running through cash. They have lower sales and higher staffing costs and he will be able to take advantage of government programs but he is really concerned for all of the local businesses and his customers. He thinks the municipality should start to fast track permits and other plans, etc.

Darlene : FC Dominion Lending – Most of her clients are realtors and they have been effectively shut down. Lending is a challenge right now since people can’t show income for the last 2 weeks. She is trying to keep up with problem solving for current clients. She helps people find funding for residential purchases and facilitates commercial purchases. She commented that lenders are pulling out of the market and tightening their restrictions and making it harder to get funds when they should be relaxing
their restrictions owing to the current situation.

Peter : Sage – New home building has slowed but he thinks there will be a surge when things opens up

Scott : SJR – agrees with Peter and thinks there will be chaos when things start back up

Adam : PHH – agreeing with Peter and Scott and thinks it will be a slow start up and then a surge. He wants the municipality to step up and make things easier for businesses. He feels the process needs to be accelerated for permits and to be more transparent in the process. He feels that it takes too long to get things processed and to get permits out.

Peter : Sage – he hasn’t had issues with permits

Adam : PHH – He was referencing the time it takes for developments to get the green light

Scott : SJR – no real issues with permits

Mike Harper – Wants ideas to feed to government to assist in the recovery. He asked the people on the call to advise how it should be structured?

Peter : Sage – he feels a big issue is education of the sub contractors. They aren’t respecting the social distancing on job sites. He thinks signage from the Municipality would help. He feels they need signage to emphasize social distancing guidelines and the maximum number of people on a job site at one time

Scott : SJR – agrees with Peter. Suggested maybe having subcontractors come on different days so they are not all there at the same time and end up working too close together. He questions how to utilize sanitary protocols at job sites. How can everything be sanitized?

Phil St. Jean – he also has concerns re: sanitizing as everyone on a job site touches everything. An issue he brought up was people being on job sites who shouldn’t be there and being unable to control that. He agreed with maybe ramping up signage.

Adam : PHH – He is struggling with social distancing issues for his own staff. He also mentioned that they are not really processing returns and are looking for more input on protocol issues since they end up having to make it up as they go.

Trevor – He asked if any of the construction organizations have given any direction or input.

*it seemed that it was unclear if they had and Peter thought it was a good suggestion to look into

Peter & Scott have concerns over community keeping watch on them and looking for errors, as well as concerns that the Ministry of Labour may show up and they could be shut down if subcontractors aren’t social distancing. Peter advised that he has emailed all of his staff on protocols and posted his own signs but he feels that signage from the County would be great.

Mike asked for some input in terms of what the people of the call think will happen with the industry in the future

Adam: PHH – he believes the recovery process will be slow but that it will happen. He thinks there is a lot of future potential and that this situation is just the short term and that is what we have to be concerned with.

Peter and Scott agree with Adam’s statement

Adam: PHH – he added that has concerns over supply chain issues and limits as he is seeing very extended timelines to get parts and products

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