June 14, 2011.
Today, from 4:30 to 6:30, there's a "meet and greet" mixer at Steffich Fine Art Gallery, in Grace Point Square, for the Chamber of Commerce membership.
If you're not already a member, contact Janet at the Chamber office, lower level of the Ganges Village tourist info centre, and become involved.
The "platform" of the Chamber of Commerce, throughout B.C., is to lobby the provincial government on behalf of business concerns in all communities.
Salt Spring is not a municipality, and so does not have the same "presence" that this form of government might offer, to Island concerns. It's my impression that everyone who lives on Salt Spring is acvtually "in business"...some are more obvioua than others, such as a retail location on a Village street. However, the artists on the studio tour, the musicians who play the live venues in town, the restaurant owners, the B & B/Accommodation providers (hotel, resorts, etc), the contractors, the backhoe/excavator operators, the artists who display at ArtCraft & at ArtSpring's galleries, the grocery outlets, the clothing stores, the financial institutions, the recycling people, the farmers/produce providers, the vineyards, the....you get the drift...anyone providing an item or a service for sale to the public is "in business". That includes all of the vendors at the famed Saturday Market in the Park.
The Islands Trust has a mandate of "to preserve & protect" the environment and pristine qualities of the Gulf Islands, for the benefit of all B.C. residents. Their mandate is about land use bylaw issues, then. They are not there to provide a viable climate for business enterprise on the Island.
The proactive voice of the Chamber, then, is an essential component to a balanced lifestyle on Salt Spring Island.
Perhaps, in the past, your particular endeavour didn't seem to be "covered off" by the Chamber? Perhaps there were spin-offs, dedicated to just one aspect of Chamber business? Now, the time for fiefdoms is over. These are new days at the Chamber, and this is the legal and in place platform to bring "presence" to Salt Spring. A new Chamber manager, with the skills and experience to create a hum of activity, emanating from the Chamber Office, is in place. A new slate of Board members, with increased numbers there, too...and from many different backgrounds. All to the good, in making sure that Salt Spring remains a viable tourist destination, and that all business expectations are addressed....tourism is often the catalyst to everything else, and the regrowth of the shoulder season opportunities is a big factor in ongoing options.
Meantime, there is strength in numbers...to grow the membership of the Chamber, which now has a proactive voice for the community, from its business perspective, is the first step.
Be involved! Your thoughts, ideas, suggestions are essential....
See you there!