It's been heartening to see the high level of activity around the City and wider region as people re-engage economically and socially under the "new normal".
Hats off to the companies and organisations that have adapted to the changed environment by exploring new options and ways of doing business.
While getting used to physical distancing and contact-tracing in retail queues, there are good news stories emerging about making the most of these circumstances.
Signing on to the city's choosemanawatu.nz "buy local" campaign is a way of ensuring as much commercial spending as possible stays local, while sharing information about other ventures in this brave new trading world.
The Palmerston North City Council is helping spearhead economic recovery by accelerating capital projects and examining all costs to make sure services are delivered effectively.
As well as encouraging forward momentum and capital investment, we are looking at ways of reducing our rates increase to just 1.95 per cent.
Council is also working alongside our strategic iwi, business, agency and local government partners on a three-stage City Recovery programme.
Stage one, Immediate Response Planning is well underway.
This focuses on four areas of wellbeing: economic, cultural, social and environmental.
In the economic sphere, along with supporting local business and facilitating new construction, we are focusing on efficient procurement and contractor relationships.
This has been helped by Government's relaxation of Resource Management Act building consents.
Our building consents have already reached record levels, bucking a national trend, showing a high level of investor confidence in the city.
After issuing $23m worth of building consents in February, an all-time monthly high of $94 million worth of consent applications was lodged in March, followed by a further $41m in April, and encouraging figures for May.
We were also able to quickly identify 10 "shovel ready" projects worth nearly $125m over the next 12 months and apply for assistance to the Government's multi-million dollar national "Shovel Ready" relief fund.
Important for our post-Covid economy, these projects will help kick-start the construction sector and promote further community and business confidence.
Cultural is about building community spirit through further placemaking ventures, encouraging events, arts, performances, sport and the use of our venues.
Under social there are steps in place to support safe, resilient and active communities.
A welfare 0800 725 678 helpline available between 9am – 5pm directs enquiries to an appropriate social service agency.
For anyone in need, there's a list of local social service support agencies on the pncc.govt.nz website.
The environmental aspect concentrates on climate change mitigation, increasing biodiversity, and promoting the use of active and public transport.
Stage two, Review and Recovery Update, will assess the effectiveness of these measures, with public reporting on progress every three months.
Stage three, Long-term Rebuild, is to be implemented through the 2021/2031 10 Year Plan process.
A wide range of post-Covid recovery information is posted on the PNCC website pncc.govt.nz/covid19
Kia kaha! Stay strong, buy local.
- Grant Smith is the Mayor of Palmerston North City.