Chambers amalgamate

The newly-amalgamated Smoky River Chamber of Commerce elected its first board at its first annual general meeting April 6. Sitting, left-right, are director Jessica Hadfield, president Nichole Simard, secretary Melissa Labrecque and director Terry Valiquette. In the back row left-right, are directors Doug Ford, Daniel Labrecque, Louis Gagne and Noemi Sanchez. Missing in the photo are vice-president Neil Cotton, treasurer Joseph Sutton and Paosu [Bobo] Simard, absent in person but attending the meetings on Zoom.

Richard Froese
South Peace News

Two chambers of commerce in the Smoky River region have officially joined to become one.
A vote to amalgamate the McLennan and District Chamber of Commerce and the Smoky River Regional Chamber of Commerce was strongly supported at a special meeting April 6 in McLennan.
The Smoky River Chamber of Commerce was formed by the vote at the special meeting attended by 15 people.
Nichole Simard was elected as president of the new chamber at the annual general meeting after the special meeting.
She and board are delighted by the result.
“The unanimous vote to amalgamate the McLennan and Smoky River chambers was long awaited for,” says Simard, who was elected president of the former Smoky River regional chamber at its AGM Oct. 28.
“I know everyone on the board is very excited to begin working in earnest to support our existing business community throughout the region and to welcome new businesses as they see what opportunities our region can offer.
“If we can focus on being an advocate for the business community, and being very intentional on how we do that, then the business community will see the benefits of the chamber and the chamber will continue to grow in scope and support.”
The board will set its strategies and areas of focus for the remainder of the year at its next meeting April 21.
Neil Cotton was elected vice-president. Melissa Labrecque was elected secretary and Joseph Sutton as treasurer. Filling the board are directors Doug Ford, Jessica Hadfield, Paosu (Bobo) Simard, Louis Gagne, Noemi Sanchez, Terry Valiquette and former McLennan chamber president Daniel La- brecque.
Strong support for amalgamation at several community meetings led to the vote.
“The special meeting was called only because a decision had been made after the majority of respondents stated they would like to see amalgamation proceed,” says Simard.
Support for amalgamation was gauged by responses about the issue from people at the meetings and by chamber contact inquiries, she says.
During the special meeting, the board approved its mandate to serve, support and advocate for the business community and other business stakeholders in the region that includes the communities of Falher, McLennan, Girouxville, Donnelly and others in the M.D. of Smoky River.
The board will endeavour to equitably balance activity, promotions and funding among the membership, communities and region the chamber serves.
During the meeting, the board passed a resolution that money from the former McLennan chamber be placed into the Smoky River chamber bank account in Vision Credit Union in an amount equal to the funds of $12,317.90 already on deposit there.
All access funds, as applicable, currently held by the former McLennan chamber, shall be placed on deposit under the Smoky River chamber under a separate savings account which will be used for a purpose yet to be determined, but specifically for the benefit of the McLennan community.

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