BC Chamber of Commerce director of member relations Joan Isac (left) presents the 2018 Chamber of Commerce of the Year Award to Castlegar Chamber of Commerce executive director Tammy Verigin-Burk (center) and Castlegar Chamber president Jane Charest.

BC Chamber of Commerce director of member relations Joan Isac (left) presents the 2018 Chamber of Commerce of the Year Award to Castlegar Chamber of Commerce executive director Tammy Verigin-Burk (center) and Castlegar Chamber president Jane Charest.

Castlegar Chamber planning for another busy year

The Castlegar and District Chamber of Commerce is celebrating a successful year while looking forward to doing more in 2020.

More than 100 people attended the chamber’s annual general meeting last week including many of the chamber’s 44 new members. This year’s additions bring the total number of chamber members up to 283.

The chamber plans to continue and expand some of their most successful events and programs including the Business after Business events.

“That is something we are really super proud of,” said the chamber’s executive director, Tammy Verigin-Burk.

She says the feedback from chamber members about how helpful the networking events are means they will continue to be a regular item on the chamber’s calendar.

Verigin-Burk says changes to the annual business awards event have also been well received.

“It’s now a lot more about celebrating business, not just about who was nominated,” she said. “It’s about the whole celebration.”

Both Verigin-Burk and chamber president Derek Kittson are proud of the advocacy work they were able to do this year, primarily at the provincial level with the B.C. Chamber of Commerce.

It’s an aspect of the chamber’s work that many people don’t know about.

“Something really important to us was advocacy around ride share,” explained Verigin-Burk. “Transportation is impacting our hospitality sector.”

They were also involved in talks about pending caribou conservation legislation.

“It is massive for a lot of our outdoor tourist operations, everything from heli-skiing in Nakusp — people come into our airport and stay here on their way coming and going — to forestry operations. We had a lot of chamber members ask us to lobby on their behalf.”

The chamber will also continue on with its highly successful and sold-out annual trade show.

READ MORE: Heavy trading at West Kootenay Trade Show

The chamber is hoping to create a new product this year, a retail guide for the area. It would be a pamphlet that people could pick up at a hotel, the visitor centre, or the surrounding areas such as Trail and Nelson.

“People may not have an idea of all the retail options that we have,” said Verigin-Burk.

Also to come are the results of a tri-city housing study the chamber helped with through a Teck grant and a summer student. The report looks at Castlegar, Nelson and Trail housing in detail. The report will be released by the Rural Development Institute soon.

Plans are already being made for another State of the Kootenays event. The first event was a big success and looked at the state of the local economy and businesses.

Verigin-Burk is already working on bringing in some dynamic speakers for the event to be held this spring. She also hopes to follow up with a second event the next day to give chambers from the entire area a chance to get together.

The chamber’s board of directors for 2020 is made up of president Derek Kittson (Central City Shoes), first vice president Stuart Ady (Ernie’s Used Autoparts), second vice president Marcella Chernoff (99.3 The Goat), financial officer Jane Charest (Sandman Hotel) and directors Tyler Hadikin (Stacked Films), Kathy Sykes (CKR Holdings), Kerry Clarke (Selkirk College), Marc Conacher (Windborne Bed and Breakfast), Dr. Diana Draper (Naturopath), Christina Nolan (Kootenay Voice Academy), Margeaux Bauman (Kootenay Valley Water and Spa), Jo-Ann Bursey (Century 21 Mountainview Realty Ltd.) and Laura Fox (Pinnacle Professional Accounting).



betsy.kline@castlegarnews.com

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