Amalgamation the only option, says Verstappen

Left-right, Dan Labrecque, president of the McLennan Chamber of Commercee, and Eric Verstappen, vice-president of the Smoky River Regional Chamber of Commerce, address McLennan town council April 12.

Chris Clegg
South Peace News

Many fears were alleviated over the possible amalgamation of the chamber of commerces in Falher and McLennan.

A delegation addressing the matter appeared before McLennan town council April 12 that included Dan Labrecque, president of the McLennan Chamber of Commerce, and Eric Verstappen, vice-president of the Smoky River Regional Chamber of Commerce.

Labrecque presented two options that could potentially arise after McLennan’s annual general meeting, yet to be called.

“If no one wants to serve, shut it down,” he said.

“If there is interest, we can carry on as the McLennan [chamber] or amalgamate.”

McLennan council was concerned over the $20,000 left in the local chamber’s bank account. The Town of McLennan collected much of the money through business license fees and forwarded 75 per cent to the chamber, keeping the other 25 per cent.

The Falher chamber currently has about $8,000 in its bank account.

If amalgamation occurred, the McLennan chamber would forward $12,000 to a local project so the new chamber would have $8,000 each from the former chambers.

The plan satisfied councillors.

But as far as Verstappen is concerned, there is only one option.

“We have to amalgamate. We have to get all the communities connected.”

The age-old problem, however, is getting people to come to meetings and serve.

“People are interested in what we’re doing, but not interested in doing it,” says Verstappen.

He added if the business community got together as a “brain tank” projects could be completed.

Verstappen’s plan is simple.

“Try to engage industries. If you can’t engage our captains of industry there’s no chance for us.

“If we don’t start investing in our communities, we’re going to be a sleep town,” he concluded.

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