Fernie Chamber holds 116th AGM
Members of the Fernie Chamber of Commerce filled the Best Western Plus Fernie Mountain Lodge banquet room on Thursday, April 19 for the 116th annual general meeting.
The business of the day was to report on the 2017 year’s activities, present the financials to the membership, and elect directors to the board.
The chamber welcomed 33 new members in 2017 and had a six per cent growth in membership, hosted over 225 attendees at the monthly connecting business, banter, and beer events, and trained 125 Fernie Ambassadors.
Michael Murphy of BDO Canada reported the chamber ran a modest surplus in 2017. Part of the financial success was from $11,000 plus in wage subsidies, $10,000 rural dividend grant and other grants for programming goals.
Looking forward, the chamber will be focusing on housing, a business walk (June 13), shop local promotions (first coming May 11), and educational sessions.
The board nominating committee put forward a slate of five candidates for five positions on the board. There were no nominations from the membership. The five nominees were declared elected by acclamation.
The 2017/ 2018 Chamber Board of Directors is: Graeme Nunn, Anita Palmer, Alicia Clarke, Andre Labine, Martin Brock, Jamie Hansen, Sheila Byers, and elected at the meeting Vanessa Croome, Ryan Frazer, Mel MacKay, Derrick Berry and Norm Frazer.
The meeting concluded with an economic outlook presentation from Helmut Pastrick, chief economist for Central Credit Union 1, the central financial facility and trade association for the BC and Ontario credit union systems (pictured presenting above).
The presentation touched on several economic indicators including labour markets, building permits, coal, GDP, and interest rates. Some local highlights – building permits in the City of Fernie are on an uptick nearing 2006-2007 levels after four years of stable growth. Non-residential building permits remain low with less than $3,000,000 value per year since 2012.
Coal markets are also rising both in dollars per tonne and tonnes produced. Pastrick also spoke on government policies including NAFTA and B.C.’s Speculation tax.
Looking forward, Pastrick sees no recession on the horizon as the global economy is improving; there will be some commodity inflation as wage pressures develop and interest rates rise. Our regional and local economy are in a growth phase, coal outlook is favourable for the medium term, tourism looks positive, and the local housing market is expected to grind higher.
Chamber executive director Patty Vadnais said, “2017 was a positive year for the chamber. Our membership grew as we work on issues of importance to local businesses. We are looking forward to the Business Walk in June to further understand Fernie business needs.”
Businesses interested in participating in the walk are invited to contact the Chamber at 250-423-6868.
The Fernie Chamber of Commerce represents over 266 business in Fernie and the Elk Valley. Its mission is to strengthen commerce in the Fernie area and is guided by principles of membership, integrity, best-practices, business excellence, and non-partisanship.
Photos courtesy Fernie Chamber of Commerce
Fernie Chamber of Commerce