The Port Hardy Chamber of Commerce wasn’t fooling when it held its annual general meeting and 43rd annual Business Excellence Awards at the Quatse Salmon Stewardship Centre April 1.
The purpose of the Chamber, said president Todd Landon, is “to encourage and grow the economy of the North Island in all sectors” and be an advocate on the members’ behalf.
“We’re here for you,” Landon said.
The Chamber had a busy 2014, Interim Executive Director Angela Smith told the members.
“2014 was an interesting year. We saw a lot of change through 2014 from 2013,” Smith said.
Change was necessary, Smith said, because the Chamber was “at risk of becoming less and less relevant.”
Last year, the Chamber upgraded its bylaws, and joined those championing increased internet connectivity and bandwidth for the North Island.
“We went through a complete financial overhaul,” Smith said, which included separating the chamber and visitor services budgets.
As a result of this overhaul, the Chamber is looking at ending the year with a small surplus, said Director Nadine Gough.
The Chamber facility is also undergoing a physical transformation.
“We are turning it into more of a Port Hardy Interpretive Centre that reflects the values of the community,” said Smith.
Smith said the Chamber occasionally hears complaints that it only focuses on tourism, however she explained that tourism helps all businesses.
“By supporting the tourism and hospitality industry we are helping build a vibrant community” which improves the quality of life for employees, which helps with staff retention.
“By helping one business, we help other businesses,” she said.
The Chamber has also been working on increased communication and getting its message out. “There are a slew of services that come from the Chamber that we are going to work harder to represent,” she said, adding that the organization wants “to be the centre of connectivity between businesses and the community.
Towards this end, the Chamber is revamping its website. Phase one has been completed which includes a new address – www.porthardychamber.com.
“I feel like we’re getting a lot of traction with our Chamber of Commerce,” said Smith.
Smith asked for input from members on the Chamber’s currently monthly meeting model and how they felt about the new coffee break format which involves going to an organization or business for an hour. Three coffee breaks were held in 2014.
The meeting also included the nomination of new board members. Todd Landon, Sandra Masales, Alfons Bauer, and Chris Armstrong will stay on for another year. Heather Patriquin from Coastal Community Credit Union allowed her name to stand for nomination to join the board.
Swearing in of new directors took place at the April 15 monthly meeting.