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Posted: March 16, 2016

Peter Smith new president of CVCC

The Columbia Valley Chamber of Commerce (CVCC) Annual General Meeting held on Wednesday, March 9, was attended by approximately 30 of the 237 members.

There were nine vacancies to be filled on the board of directors of which only five were filled. The board now consists 11 members, six of whom are on their second year of a two-year term and five who are returning for a second two-year term.

Peter Smith
Peter Smith

The following business leaders now serve on the Board of Directors: Peter Smith, President, 1st Year (2nd term); Andrea Tubbs, 1st VP, 1st Year (2nd term); Mark Digney, Treasurer, 1st Year (2nd term); Laurie Klassen, Secretary, 1st Year (2nd term); Dee Conklin, Director 2nd Year; Jamie Hurschler, Director 2nd Year; Barry Maybuck, Director 2nd Year; Keith Mose, Director 1st Year (2nd term); Rod Turnbull, Director 2nd Year; Pascal Van Dijk, Director 2nd Year; Nicolaas Veen, Director 2nd Year.

When asked to comment about the Columbia Valley Chamber of Commerce and their purpose for being on the board the consensus was that the CVCC’s new board members are all committed to the well-being of the local economy and keeping our business community vibrant and engaged.

In 2016, with the tourism marketing and branching collaborative initiatives well on their way the CVCC plans to focus on business succession planning, business education, and advocating for other key economic development initiatives.

CVCC LogoAndrea Tubbs of Swansea Communications was elected the 1st Vice-President on March 9 by her fellow board members. Andrea thanked the board for their support and said, “I am encouraged that over the next two years the CVCC board will build upon the solid foundation of work that has already been accomplished. After all, helping the business community to be healthy and successful is at the core of what the CVCC is all about.”

New President Peter Smith stated, “I would like to thank our Past President Amanda Robinson, for her leadership and commitment to the chamber and to the tourism industry. I respect her for having maintained a balance between her interest in the tourism industry and the rest of the business community. She was always conscious of her role as president of an organization that supports the entire business community not just the tourism sector.”

The information packed AGM also included updates from the president, the executive director and the treasurer. Gerri Brightwell of the Ministry of Jobs Tourism and Skills Training along with Susan Clovechok, Executive Director Columbia Valley Chamber of Commerce reported out the results of the Business Walk that was conducted in November 2015 and February 2016.

The Columbia Valley Chamber of Commerce and the provincial Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training partnered to deliver the first Business Walk event in the Columbia Valley on November 12, 2015. More than 120 businesses were visited by 40 volunteers from the District of Invermere, Village of Radium Hot Springs, Columbia Valley Chamber of Commerce, Basin Business Advisors, Regional District of East Kootenay, Community Futures East Kootenay, Imagine Kootenay, and the Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training, as one means to gather information from a sample of the business community and to identify opportunities to facilitate business growth.

The Business Walk program is designed to capture the pulse of businesses in the Columbia Valley by asking businesses 6 questions related to the state of their business and the local economy. It provides valuable information that support agencies can use to develop programs and services that will better support our local small businesses. The Business Walk has helped to communicate relevant issues and opportunities to the chamber and the local and provincial governments.

Highlights from the Business Walk include:

– Business owners are feeling positive about the state of business in the Columbia Valley, with 67% of businesses surveyed rating the state of their business as ‘good or increasing.’

– The top three assets business owners like most about doing business in the Columbia Valley are the people, the location and the lifestyle.

– Small business is a major employer in the Columbia Valley. The 121 businesses surveyed during the Business Walk represent over 1,450 jobs.

– Businesses are seeking support on labour attraction/retention; marketing partnerships and promoting downtown business opportunities.

– Succession planning is needed for Columbia Valley businesses, with several businesses stating they plan to retire or sell within the next five years. Over 55% of businesses do not have a succession plan, a document that supports business owners to be prepared for future.

The Columbia Valley Chamber of Commerce is planning a number of follow-up actions related to the Business Walk, including offering succession planning resources, human resources training and new buy local marketing programs. In total, 13 businesses have received direct follow-up support to address specific concerns and provide additional information and tools to assist their businesses growth.

In closing the evening, Peter Smith stated, “I look forward to leading the CVCC board over the next two years and accomplishing the priorities we have set for ourselves.”

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