Bold action needed for recovery
To Gov. John Carney, the Delaware Division of Small Business and those applying for funds to combat the negative effects of the pandemic and future threats to business and tourism, I request that you think big and generate solutions that will truly make a difference.
Please use the $7 million earmarked for this effort wisely and commit to additional funds as needed. The $1 million you have directed for marketing, though it may be needed by some, should not be used to attract visitors or population growth to areas that are struggling to manage them, such as coastal Sussex County.
The remainder of the funds and additional resources should be used to address pandemic, workplace issues, infrastructure and climate change.
Businesses and the public need to be supported in the use of best healthcare practices, for their workspaces, the environment and their customers. Workers need to be able to afford to live within a reasonable distance from jobs, earn a living wage and have paid sick leave. Infrastructure, such as water and sewer services, and roadways adequate for timely travel, emergency vehicles and disaster evacuation, should keep pace with development, visitor needs and population growth, and be designed to withstand present and future climate change challenges.
And lastly, the scenic and recreational attractions that form the basis of most of our tourism and make Delaware an attractive place to reside must be protected from the threats of overdevelopment and climate change.
Delaware is uniquely vulnerable to climate change threats. It is the lowest state in the nation and is sinking; has lost over 50 percent of its wetlands, which support wildlife we watch, hunt or harvest; has over 90 percent of its waterways too polluted for fishing or swimming; its wells, forest and farmland are degrading from saltwater intrusion; and it is subject to damage from extreme weather events.
Bold action is needed to repair assets already damaged, discontinue damaging practices, and prepare for future challenges, not only for tourism, but for everyone in Delaware.