Regional chamber gaining support

Businesses in McLennan could soon be promoted and supported under a proposed new chamber of commerce for the Smoky River region.

Richard Froese
South Peace News

A proposed plan to amalgamate chambers of commerce based in Falher and McLennan is gaining support.

Smoky River Regional Chamber of Commerce and McLennan and District Chamber of Commerce are working on a plan to amalgamate to better serve businesses and the region.

Smoky River chamber vice-president Eric Ver- stappen shared the regional vision at the Town of Falher council meeting Feb. 8.

“It makes sense for a regional chamber of commerce,” Mayor Donna Buchinski says.

“It’s a positive plan.

“They’re working with McLennan.”

Verstappen says the plan was discussed at a meeting Feb. 3 with the Smoky River chamber executive and some McLennan chamber members.

“We decided the only answer is to have one chamber for the whole region,” says Verstap- pen.

“We need to reach all businesses in the region.

“We want to promote the well-being of businesses, businesses supporting businesses.”

Executives of both chambers have talked about a plan to amalgamate for about one year.

Under the plan, Verstappen says the regional chamber would aim to promote and build the business community in the region.

Drafted by the Smoky River chamber executive, the plan focuses on four areas of growth that include an information stream for members, advocate for members, and to promote the region and well being of businesses.

He says the chamber would have a high priority to communicate and provide information to members and municipalities and host information sessions.

“We want to advocate for members and assist members,” Verstappen says.

The chamber would strive to grow in members and welcome businesses in Falher, McLennan, Girouxville, Donnelly and others located all over the M.D. of Smoky River, he says.

The Smoky River chamber is committed to discuss the plan and vision with members and businesses in the next few months.

Verstappen says the local chambers plan to present the amalgamation proposal to Town of McLennan council.

Both chambers of commerce plan to take the proposal to a vote to members later this year.

He notes the Smoky River chamber plans to discuss the plan at an annual general meeting proposed for June in person but it depends on COVID-19 restrictions for gatherings.

McLennan chamber of commerce planned to discuss the plan at its annual general meeting planned for Feb. 24 but COVID prompted a postponement.

Businesses in Falher will be asked to join a proposed regional chamber of commerce.

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