‘Tis the season for Chamber of Commerce marketing campaign

Regular Wednesday markets underway, Giant Street Market on July 9

North Cowichan Mayor Al Siebring delivers the keynote address at the Chemainus + District Chamber of Commerce AGM. (Photo by Kristy Landry)

North Cowichan Mayor Al Siebring delivers the keynote address at the Chemainus + District Chamber of Commerce AGM. (Photo by Kristy Landry)

Business combined with pleasure for the Chemainus + District Chamber of Commerce’s annual general meeting at the end of April.

Julie Stevens from Canteen on the Green catered the event with an array of individual appetizers. There were 36 people in attendance at the Mount Brenton Golf Course’s Canteen on the Green and Chamber director Michael Pickard entertained the crowd as the master of ceremonies.

Outgoing North Cowichan Mayor Al Siebring provided an update on municipal affairs and in his farewell keynote address gave a candid and heartfelt message about the need for a balanced council with elected representatives who value knowledge to reach unbiased decisions.

Siebring called upon Chamber members and community leaders to consider running in the October election. He also announced the opening of the new Community Policing Office in Chemainus.

Chamber President Stephanie Ballantyne presented a report on Chamber and Visitor Centre activities in 2021, including the return of the weekly Wednesday Market, new Christmas Market and the Chamber’s shop local campaign. More than 4,600 collapsible shopping bins were distributed to residents of Saltair, Chemainus, Crofton, Thetis Island and Penelakut Island as part of the campaign.

Ballantyne also gave a brief demo of shopthetown.ca – the new comprehensive business directory and events calendar for Chemainus + District.

As expected, visitor statistics remained low with 5,044 visitors in 2021 compared to more than 42,000 in pre-pandemic 2019. This was still an increase from 2020 with 4,020 visitors recorded, Ballanyne noted.

Treasurer Corey Jansen reviewed the financial situation. After a difficult 2020, the Chamber reported record revenues in 2021 and an increase in net assets. The current financial outlook is positive and a surplus has been earmarked for improvements at the Visitor Centre, new equipment and a reserve fund for operations.

The 2022-23 Chamber board of directors was elected and includes: Ballantyne (Rob & Steph, Re/Max Ocean Pointe), Kristy Landry (Edward Jones), Corey Jansen (West Coast Pre Fab) and Michael Pickard (Re/Max Ocean Pointe).

Newly-appointed directors are: Peter Matthews (past president), Paul Edwards (Chemainus Health Care Auxiliary), Candice Relf (Scoops by the Sea) and Kendra Vizzutti (BMO Mortgages).

Outgoing directors Jason Farrugia (Island Savings) and Roy Summerhayes (Seniors 101) were thanked for their contributions and service.

Matthews received a Lifetime Membership Award for his outstanding dedication to the community and as a long-serving past president of the Chamber.

The AGM wrapped up with Farrugia presenting the Chamber with a cheque from Island Savings for the new digital display screen which will be installed in the front window of the Visitor Centre this summer.

In other news, the Chamber’s market season kicked off May 18 with the Weekly Wednesday Market. It takes place at Waterwheel Square every Wednesday from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. until September 21.

The Chemainus Giant Street Market will return on Saturday, July 9 from 8 a.m.-3 p.m. along Willow Street. Space is still available and interested vendors can contact Melody Smythies at events@chemainus.bc.ca or 250-737-3370.

The next board meeting is July 7.

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North Cowichan Mayor Al Siebring with Chemainus + District Chamber of Commerce president Stephanie Ballantyne. (Photo by Kristy Landry)

North Cowichan Mayor Al Siebring with Chemainus + District Chamber of Commerce president Stephanie Ballantyne. (Photo by Kristy Landry)

Jason Farrugia presents a cheque from Island Savings to Chamber president Stephanie Ballantyne for a new digital display screen at the Visitor Centre. (Photo by Kristy Landry)

Jason Farrugia presents a cheque from Island Savings to Chamber president Stephanie Ballantyne for a new digital display screen at the Visitor Centre. (Photo by Kristy Landry)