Alliance Belfast Councillors have called for a clear strategy to be developed to help aid the city’s recovery from the coronavirus crisis.
Councillor Michael Long, the party’s group leader in Belfast, has already raised the issue with other group party leaders, calling for a task force to be established that includes Council, Assembly, Departments and key stakeholders, in a similar style response to the Primark fire.
The ‘Recovery or Resilience Committee’ would also incorporate the existing Brexit Committee and the Climate Change Working Group, as Belfast looks to what its ‘new normal’ will be in the wake of the pandemic.
“Belfast City Council has a history of leading an active, effective response to critical situations facing our city. You only have to look at the aftermath of the Primark fire to see that. That’s why it’s vital we do the same again as we face some of the greatest challenges in a generation,” said Councillor Long.
“The effects of the coronavirus pandemic will be with us long after the initial threat has gone. We need to tackle the impact on our businesses and economy, as well as help those in poverty and who are vulnerable in a more effective way.
“But alongside this we cannot allow the few benefits of lockdown – in terms of environmental impact and the increased sense of community – to go to waste. We need a strategy for the future, one incorporating everything Council has already been spearheading – including improved cycling infrastructure, more pedestrian access zones – and seeks to align these with the economic recovery of our city, delivering real change for everyone.
“With a functioning Executive and the desire of all to see a thriving Belfast, there is no reason why this group shouldn’t be the first step in making that happen.”