Regional chamber of commerce idea is gaining speed
Although the Greenwood Board of Trade has refused to participate in the development of a regional chamber of commerce, the dialogue to assess the possibilities of a regional body is moving forward. At a region wide meeting held in April, representatives from organizations in Christina Lake, Grand Forks, Greenwood, and business representatives from Midway and Rock Creek gathered to explore the idea of a regional organization. The discussion included disbanding the existing organizations in favour of a larger regional chamber. Although the Greenwood Board has opted out of this process, Greenwood business owners would still have the option to participate and the rest of the region is moving on.
“We’re going forward with it (regional chamber),” said BEDC Chair and Regional District Area C Director Grace McGregor. “But there are other people in Greenwood that want on board so there’s no reason the Board of Trade can’t continue to operate if that’s what they choose. We have people in area E that are totally on board, and are wanting the regional chamber. Christina Lake is on board even though we are one of the more successful around and have been. We know the only good bang for the buck that you’re going to get out there is regional. More and more the writing is on the wall that you need to be sustainable in anything you do in your community.”
Community Futures Boundary has taken the lead on this project initiated by the Boundary Economic Development Committee (BEDC). In 2009, the BEDC saw the need to explore with existing Chamber organizations issues around sustainability of their organizations and the struggle to operate effectively in some of the small communities throughout the region.
Working in partnership with the Christina Lake Chamber of Commerce, the Greenwood Board of Trade and the Grand Forks Chamber of Commerce, and small business representation from Midway and the Rock Creek area, several meetings took place that indicated a healthy level of support for a regional chamber organization that would represent small and medium business throughout the region and play a key role in tourism related activities.
Jim Nathorst, president of the Greenwood Board of Trade, says that the board voted not to close their doors but they hope to collaborate with the regional initiatives. “We don’t want to participate. We don’t want to give up our status as a Board of Trade as a whole. Obviously we want to collaborate together – we do anyway.”
Sarah Winton, project co-ordinator for Community Futures, said a steering committee has been formed and information is now being taken out to prospective members throughout the Boundary. A rationale and short survey will be distributed with a goal of receiving no less than 300 positive responses. Local contacts in each community are working on the distribution of the survey and will be answering any questions the public may have.
“We’d really like to see at least 300 survey respondants in support of this project,” said Winton, “from there we will push the project to the next level and begin seeking other funding sources which can help a Regional Chamber be sustainable in the short term future. If you are interested in becoming a member, please complete the survey and return it to us, your support will help drive this project.”
Surveys can be accessed on line at www.boundarycf.com or contact your community representative listed below:
Parklane Motel and R.V. Park
31 Kingsley Rd. Christina Lake.
Phone: 1-250-447-9385 (9:30 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.)
P.O. Box 1,
Greenwood, B.C. V0H 1J0
CHAIN REACTION RIDE and SLIDE
1815A Central Avenue
Grand Forks, BC
Anne Rexin 250-446-2409
Gary Schierbeck 250-449-2409