WINNIPEG -- A motion from a Winnipeg city councillor to help Downtown Winnipeg recover economically from the COVID-19 pandemic is now in the hands of council.

Coun. Sherri Rollins (Fort-Rouge East Fort Garry) put forward a motion at the city’s executive policy committee meeting on Wednesday, which was passed. The motion would call for $36,000 to be set aside for the Downtown Winnipeg Business Improvement Zone (Downtown Winnipeg BIZ) to come up with a post-pandemic plan.

“Downtown planning is key to the economic recovery of our city,” Rollins said, noting Councillors Vivian Santos (Point Douglas) and Cindy Gilroy (Daniel McIntyre), whose wards include Downtown Winnipeg, all support the plan and want it expedited as soon as possible.

After several months where non-essential businesses were not allowed to open, there has been less foot traffic in the downtown core, and for lease signs have popped up along buildings.

“We have seen employers, large employers in the downtown with their risk management plans. That means people are working from home,” Rollins said. “We usually see over 20,000 students in the downtown. We usually see over 43,000 people during a business day. And so, of course, that’s had impacts, and its impacts that we really need to plan for.”

Rollins said time is of the essence when it comes to the plan.

“It is time to get behind a downtown plan; a downtown plan that will help with the economic and social recovery that we really need to see in the downtown,” she said. “That’s really critical, today and always.”

The motion now needs final approval from city council.