New drive animates the Chamber of Commerce

By David F. Rooney

Judy Goodman, the new executive director at the Chamber of Commerce, appears to be infusing the agency with new drive and direction.

Speaking before City Council last week, the former West Jet marketing executive, outlined the Chamber’s goals and priorities for the this year. They include:

  • New websites for the Chamber local tourism;
  • New highway signage;
  • Ongoing, member-driven promotions;
  • A “freshair cinema” event — essentially an outdoor film to be shown in Centennial Park on August 25 as a fundraiser for charity;
  • The annual Business Excellence Awards on November 3;
  • Moonlight Madness on November 30; and
  • A Business Showcase event in 2013.

In addition, the Chamber has identified a number of issues, which its members regard as important and would like to see discussed with City Council. These include:

  • Business taxes. Although this year’s increase was marginal — just 2 per cent — the business community can’t absorb any more increases;
  • Business sign design and approval regulations. These continue to be a major irritant for many business owners. Recently, a sign designed for a local massage therapy business — and which was otherwise deemed acceptable by the City — was turned down because it carried the business’ phone number;
  • Transportation issues, among them perceived problems with Revelstoke’s taxi service; and
  • Worker education and training.

Goodman was enthusiastic about the prospects for raising the Chamber’s profile in Revelstoke — something that it really needs to accomplish. There are, she noted, 912 businesses licences in town, but only 284 businesses are Chamber members. However, she also tends to be realistic about the future and the Chamber’s ability to achieve all of its goals.

“I don’t want to over-promise and under-deliver,” she said.

The Chamber has, in recent years, had a sometimes-difficult relationship with the City. That may change, with the ever-diplomatic Goodman at the helm.

The Chamber, which has a total income of $254,812, receives $70,000 in funding support from the City. $45,000 is a fee for service as the Chamber has responsibility for marketing Revelstoke. $25,000 is municipal funding to support the Chamber’s tourism coordinator. The rest of the Chamber’s revenue comes from BC Tourism, one-time grants, various partnerships and other sources of income.

The Chamber has plans for a new Visitor Information Centre to replace the existing offices it rents on Campbell Avenue. It’s still a way off in the distance, but Council helped the project take a step forward by approving a request from the Chamber and the Community Futures Development Corporation for $100,000 in Economic Opportunity Funds from the Columbia Shuswap Regional District.

Still, not everything is rosy, Goodman said.

“The way our budget looks today, we might have a small loss (of $22,098) this year,” she said.