Simard leading revived chamber

Nichole Simard, new president of the Smoky River Regional Chamber of Commerce.

Richard Froese
South Peace News

The Smoky River Regional Chamber of Commerce has a new president and board members committed to boost local businesses and community spirit.
Nichole Simard was elected the new president at the chamber’’s annual general meeting Oct. 28.
“We emphasize our focus on a regional approach,” says Simard.
“Each community has its own special personality that we want to help showcase.”
Also elected to the board are vice-president Neil Cotton, secretary Jessica Farrell, treasurer Joseph Sutton and directors Doug Ford, Jeannette Cinq-Mars, Jessica Hadfield and Daniel Labrecque.
“We’re all really excited to support the region and help it grow and thrive,” Simard says.
“We appreciate the positivity and support we’ve seen so far.”
She says the regional chamber is getting very positive participation from businesses in Falher, McLennan and Girouxville.
“We know people will invest their time and interest where they see value,” Simard says.
“Our focus is, and always be, on providing value.”
Simard has served as a director for the Valleyview and District Chamber of Commerce.
“The board has a vision that the chamber will encourage engagement with the local community, provide resources for existing and new businesses in the region, and advocate on behalf of the business community when it is appropriate,” Simard says.
“Our first step is to building community awareness of who we are and what we are here to do.
“This is best shown with action.”
Other regional partnerships were discussed at the AGM.
“We are developing relationships with municipal councils, Smoky River Regional Economic Development, and others to support the business community,” Simard says.
“We are interested in helping new industry and development come to our region.”
Various events and activities are being planned for chamber members.
“We’re considering the best return for effort and cost for our business community on several different options,” Simard says.
“We’d be very excited to participate in the Falher Honey Festival if we can see that event come back in 2022.”
The honey festival was cancelled in 2020 and 2021 by event restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic that started in March 2020.
As the new president, Simard understands her role to lead the chamber.
“I see so much potential within our communities and I know the type of framework the chamber can offer needs to be there to see this vision achieved,” Simard says.
“I have experience in business strategy, planning and operation.
“Helping to lead and support this framework with the chamber is a natural fit.”
Simard and the board invite members and other interested people to attend regular meetings held the first Thursday of each month at 7 p.m.
Meetings are being held virtually until further notice.
Links to the meetings are posted on the chamber Facebook page monthly.
For more information, contact the chamber by email at smokyriver chamber@gmail.com.

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