Council proposes hardship fund to support Eastwood

The City of Ryde is seeking to establish a $500,000 Small Business Hardship Fund to support
businesses located in Eas twood town centre.

The fund is in response to the downturn in trade m any businesses in Eastwood have experienced
since concerns were first raised in January about the alleged risks posed by the novel coronavirus.

Under the propos ed Council resolution, Eastwood businesses with annual turnover of less than $2
million will be able to apply for grants of up to $ 2,000 via the fund to help them cope with a reduction
in customer s.

The fund would also be used to create a ‘Return to Eas twood’ promotional campaign designed to
encourage people to shop and eat in Eastwood.

City of Ryde Mayor, Clr Jerome Laxale, said some businesses had reported between 50 to 80 percent
drop in turnover since concerns about the novel coronavirus first emerg ed.

“The hardship fund that we are proposing will provide appropriate support to businesses as we work
our way through this unprecedented level of community concern. It will also fund a new campaign
promoting the wonderful attractions Eastwood has to offer,” Clr Laxale said.

“I urge everyone to return to Eastwood, our community needs you. ”

The City of Ryde will also contact the NSW Health Minister, requesting regular and well broadcasted
public health advice specific to Eastwood and Ryde.

“Unfortunately, Eastwood has been a target of misinformation about the novel coronavirus. This
reiterates the need for accurate information about the risk posed by the novel coronavirus to be
disseminated by NSW Health on a regular basis, ” Clr Laxale added.

City of Ryde Deputy Mayor, Clr Simon Zhou, said some small business owners have been forced to
close their doors temporarily.

“If the current situation in Eastwood does not improve, the long term vibrancy of the town centre may
never recover. The budget proposed for the hardship fund will ensure an effective promotion
campaign can be undertaken that will encourage people to return to Eastwood and help local
businesses get through this challenging period, ” Clr Zh ou said.

Meanwhile in a separate resolution, Council is proposing to waive the cancellation fees for swim
schools and swimming carnivals between January and March, while also waive the notice period for
cancellations at Council venues during the same time period.

Both resolutio ns will now be placed on public exhibition, as is required by the Local Government Act.

A report will then be brought back to an extraordinary meeting on 10 March 2020, where a
determination on both resolutions will be made.

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