Port McNeill Council.

Port McNeill Council.

Port McNeill Chamber President meets with Council

Port McNeill Chamber of Commerce President Gaby Wickstrom met with council to discuss plans for the upcoming year.

Port McNeill Chamber of Commerce President Gaby Wickstrom was granted delegate status at council’s regular meeting Dec. 19 to speak on what the chamber has planned for the upcoming year.

“I’d like to thank Mayor and Council for the opportunity to share a bit about what the Chamber has been up to and what we’re looking to do in 2017,” said Wickstrom.

“2016 has been a tremendous one for us. Our membership is growing and people are very happy with the direction of the Chamber. We had a very successful Gala, we were involved with the Regional Districts proposal to the Rural Dividend fund and have written many letters of support to various groups working in and for our region.”

Wickstrom added that in June, the chamber was “able to partner with Royal Roads University as a leadership challenge and from that we received eight fantastic group proposals with some wonderful ideas for future direction. Out of this experience came our plan for the next year.”

She then explained the Chambers plans for 2017, which focus on nine areas:

– New business connection: Connecting with newly formed businesses to make them aware of benefits and give them a sense of belonging to the greater business community at their start up. The chamber is aiming to connect within the first three, six, and nine months of a business start up whether they are chamber members or not.

– Youth Engagement: To make young people aware of business opportunities and become more entrepreneurial. The chamber hopes this will foster a better sense of connection to their community. The appointment of a youth “ex-offico” board member, Danielle Lacasse, while also introducing a youth membership rate.

– Partnerships: Our goal is to explore non-traditional partnership opportunities such as Rotary and Lions while maintaining a business focus. The chamber’s goal here is to develop relationships with other organizations to achieve mutually beneficial goals such as collaborating to bring in guest speakers or work on initiatives that may be of mutual interest.

– Regional Collaboration: Find areas of common goals and to work regionally to benefit the entire North Island area. The chamber aims to be a catalyst for systems type thinking so they can pool resources and achieve bigger goals. The chamber has a great working relationship with the Regional District and are included in email correspondence on items where their input is needed.

– Community Connection: To connect new residents to the community through awareness of events, school, programs, and other activities. This is to give residents a greater sense of belonging and connection to the community and to eliminate the possible feeling of isolation rural/remote living can sometimes bring.

– Business Check in: To give businesses the opportunity to provide feedback on the issues they face, the support they need and how the chamber can better serve them.

– Onboarding: To connect new chamber members right at the start of their membership.

– Member to member: To network with other businesses to make people aware of the products and services they offer and showcase the areas of involvement they have within the community and beyond.

– Council updates: To inform council of activities the chamber is involved with. The chamber’s goal is to make a presentation to council at regular scheduled meetings in November, February, May, and August/September.

“Thank you, that was a wonderful presentation,” said Mayor Shirley Ackland. “We really appreciate the update on what the chamber is planning for next year.”