Celebrating our successes
The Parksville & District Chamber of Commerce's June 14, 2012 Chamber dinner was like Thanksgiving in June, and the list of things to be thankful for was a long one. It's been a great year for the Chamber, reported President Rudi Widdershoven, who started by thanking the Past Presidents of the Chamber, many of whom were in attendance, board members and Chamber members, for paving the way for the Chamber to be where it is today and for their continued support.
Past Presidents in attendance were:
1961/62 – Bill Noden
1966 – Anton Kruyt
1983 – Gord Elliott
1985 – Ken McLennan
1988/89 – Jim Banks
1990 – Bill LeSage
1991 – Bashir El Khalafawi
1994 – Bob Bourgeault
1998 – Sandy Herle
2003/04 – Hugh Sinnott
2005 – Cheryl Dill
2006/07 – Kim Burden
2009/10 – Gary Child
Regrets were received from Michelle Le Sage (1995), Ron Maine (1996) and Verne Huntley (1967).
Thanks go to Dr. James Lunney, MP Nanaimo-Alberni, who went to bat for us, enabling the Visitor Centre to hire four students for the summer. Our riding did quite well, in competing for HRSDC funding for summer staff, compared to other parts of the Island and the Province. The Federal Government and the Regional District of Nanaimo also provided funds to enable Oceanside Initiatives group to have an economic development assessment done for our area, to determine our competitive edge.
The Provincial Government, represented in our area by MLA Ron Cantelon, provided a modest increase in our Fee for Service for the operation of the Visitor Centre, as well as a one-time, $7500 grant, which we used to replace, and update, our aging signage. We have had our Business Energy Advisor program extended until next spring, which provides additional funds to offset our operating costs, and has raised the profile of our Chamber throughout the region.
We're pleased with our growing relationships with area organizations and the collaboration and communication it brings to the table, including Oceanside Tourism Association, City of Parksville, Parksville Downtown Business Association, Regional District of Nanaimo, Provincial Government, Federal Government, School District #69 and Qualicum Beach Chamber of Commerce.
We are especially grateful to the City of Parksville, for our continued relationship, and for the Fee for Service to operate the Visitor Centre, as well as their recent commitment to support the Chamber by granting the Chamber the land on which the Chamber office was built. The covenant agreement has gone to the lawyers, and we look forward to the completion of the process. This is the culmination of the project which was so generously supported by our Chamber members, the City, and other local businesses, when the Chamber office was built in 1996. Lou Biggemann was the Chamber Manager back then (as he was from 1986 to 2000), and a key member of the Building Committee. He was also in attendance, and was acknowledged for his contribution to the growth and development of the Chamber during his tenure.