Published On: Friday, 05 January 2018
Cowichan Chamber Highlights Progress at AGM
By Sonja Nagel, Executive Director of the Duncan Cowichan Chamber of Commerce
The Duncan Cowichan Chamber of Commerce recently held its AGM. The evening included a presentation from Jon Lefebure, Mayor of the Municipality of North Cowichan and Chair of the Cowichan Valley Regional District.
Mayor Lefebure updated members on the status of three prospective public facilities: a new Cowichan District Hospital, Cowichan Secondary School, and a new RCMP building.
Chamber President Julie Scurr reported on the Chamber’s advocacy efforts that included supporting the proposed container and trans-shipment facilities in Port Alberni and area.
The Chamber also advocated for closing the gap on residential and non-residential taxes, and joined business across Canada in voicing concerns about the federal government’s proposed small business tax-changes.
Julie spoke about the Chamber’s valued relationships with local government, fellow Chambers, businesses, and community organizations. She highlighted a series of sector specific Roundtables done in partnership with MNP LLP, Economic Development Cowichan, and Community Futures Cowichan.
The subsequent reports analyzed business concerns, trends and strategies for success. The same partners presented at the Vancouver Island Economic Summit session Cowichan: Changing Times, Changing Priorities, Changing Perceptions.
Julie Scurr noted positive indicators for Cowichan’s future, stating, “Unemployment rates have dropped, housing starts are up, our population has grown, the tourism sector is strong and international visitors are expected to be the primary source of growth in tourism going forward. Businesses have broad optimism in the local economy here and are continuing to make investments.”
Executive Director Sonja Nagel reported that membership rose from 486 to 526 members in the past year. Chamber staff continue to organize 50 events per year, processing 1700 RSVP’s and ticket sales.
Events included the 5th Annual Business Showcase, and the launch of Cowichan’s first annual Dine Cowichan. The festival encouraged patrons to visit more than 20 participating restaurants and enjoy innovative menus at attractive pricing. Sonja also announced that the Black Tie Awards will be held Saturday April 7, 2018 and that nominations are now open.
Directors were acclaimed at the AGM and the Executive were later formalized, including: President Julie Scurr, Coast Salish Insurance; 1st Vice President Chris Duncan - MNP; 2nd Vice President Ruth Hartmann, Hartmann Interior Design; Secretary Treasurer Danielle Killam, Grant Thornton LLP and Past President George Gates, Farm Table Inn.
Directors - Karen Bittner of Royal LePage; Brenda Burch of Social Media is Not Simple; Lynn Clark of Maple Bay Manor; Moira Hauk of Coastal Community Credit Union; Arlene Johnson of G3 Mechatronics; Penny Lehan of Lawyer at Coleman Fraser Whittome Lehan; Carol Messier of Maple Bay Marina and Marsha Todd of Unique Home Health Care.
The Chamber is also fortunate to have Appointed Directors and Appointed Liaisons on the Board, including:
- Jean Cardno - Duncan Downtown BIA;
- Keith Chicquen – VIU;
- Cathy Robertson - Community Futures Cowichan;
- Amy Melmock – Economic Development Cowichan;
- John Horgan –City of Duncan; and
- Jon Lefebure - Municipality of North Cowichan
Email Sonja Nagel or call 250-748-1111.