Kimbelrey Chamber updates Council on activities

A busy year so far; and plenty on the agenda going forward

Kimberley Chamber of Commerce Manager Mike Guarnery paid a visit to the City Council on Monday evening to provide an update on what the Chamber has been up to and what is coming up on the horizon.

With the chamber fee for service contract with the City now signed, the Chamber’s new emphasis on business advocacy is continuing.

The Chamber has been working with local restaurateurs on the Kimberley Restaurant Coalition.

“We have identified the best methods to move forward with the coalition,” Guarnery said. “A group is meeting under the structure of the Chamber. It’s generally restaurant owners with the Chamber infrastructure.”

One of the most pressing needs, according  Guarnery, was another food safe course being offered in Kimberley, both for current staff and future hires.

Guarnery says the Downtown Business Association was pleased to see the Platzl walkway being taken down.

The DBA has also met with the First Saturdays group to discuss this summer’s program, which begins in July.

“With a shorter season, the First Saturday group, which is the Arts Council, want to get business on board,” he said. “First Saturday is looking for business donations and involvement in their fundraising silent auction in July.”

Last week, JCI sponsored a live broadcast of Leadercast at the Kimberley Conference Centre. Guarnery said that about 300 people attended.

“Generally I feel like you can only talk so much about leadership, but it was really insightful,” he said. “We had people from all over the region. It really highlighted the conference centre.”

This coming September, the Kimberley Conference Centre will be hosting BC Community Futures conference.  Guarnery says the Chamber is focusing on making sure that attendees have an opportunity to experience all that Kimberley has to offer, from golfing to train rides to shopping, dining and more.

“We are making sure people will have time to do something in Kimberley, to have an opportunity to experience Kimberley.”

Guarnery also said that the Chamber is pursuing regional economic development, meeting with the regional committee.

The BC Chamber meeting in Prince George is also upcoming and Guarnery says the  Kimberley Chamber team will be attending to lobby for their positions.

Chambers don’t always agree with what the provincial Chamber may be planning, and one particular position is troubling to Kimberley. Guarnery says that the provincial chamber is advocating to have the BC and Alberta Family Days lined up to be on the same weekend.

“We are not in agreement on that,” he said.

In fact, the BC ski industry in general was instrumental in having the holidays on separate weekends.

Other issues on the horizon are changing Kimberley’s busking bylaw, a traffic survey in the Platzl to determine how delivery issues are affecting Kimberley business and expanding the role of Invest Kootenays.

And then there are the events, such as Canada Day, First Saturdays, Light Up and the big one, JulyFest. Although the new Chamber contract does not require that the Chamber host these events, they are still on the calendar.

“What we agreed in the new contract is that these events don’t represent the business activity we want to be the focus of the fee for service contract,” Mayor Don McCormick explained. “But these events fall into the category of helping the business community so the Chamber will continue them.

“JulyFest is a bit different. That’s always been a Chamber fundraiser and they make quite a bit of money on it. It’s an important part of the business model for the Chamber, but it doesn’t need to be part of the fee for service contract.”

Guarnery says that a JulyFest coordinator has been hired and that people should expect the same sort of enthusiasm and events as last year.