Saanich Peninsula chamber on the way to recovery

Last year saw the Saanich Peninsula Chamber of Commerce get its financial books well into the black.

Last year saw the Saanich Peninsula Chamber of Commerce get its financial books well into the black.

“By and far, it was the best year,” said Chamber Treasurer Elaine Hughesman, who has been in the role for the past six years. “The overall profit was $45,000 — the largest in my experience.”

She said the Chamber is a non-profit organization. There have been losses recorded in most years since 2008, she explained, and even after the 2014 showing, the Chamber is still approximately $20,000 in the hole. She said by 2016, the Chamber could be virtually debt-free.

The Chamber did save money by closing down the Pat Bay Highway Visitor Information Centre in late 2013. They recently announced plans to re-open it in May.

“It was a good year for the Chamber,” added President Ian Brown. “We’re righting the ship and we have 325 members now and they are solid, supportive, engaged and paid up.”

Brown admitted that when he first came on as president, he saw little hope — finances were flagging and even his own confidence in the Chamber was low. That changed, he said, with key personnel changes, including the hire of Denny Warner as Chamber executive director seven months ago.

“Now we’re coming back with a vengeance.”

A new slate of directors were elected to the Chamber’s board during the March 24 annual general meeting.

Newcomers are: James Bogusz (Victoria Airport Authority), Hilary Brown (Island Savings), Lorraine Brewster (Panorama Recreation), Grace Dimion (Solbakken chartered Accountants), Sheila Henn (Paterson Henn Professional Accountants), David Rogers (BC HAZMAT) and Patrick Schorle (Pacifica Real Estate).

Returning for either one or two-year terms are: Virginia Alger (Horizon Power), John Treleaven (Treleaven Consulting), Doug Wedman (Chambers of Commerce Group Insurance Plan), Joe Jansen (Wilson’s Transportation), Craig Norris (independent), Bonnie Mitchell (Mitchell Creative), Doug Walker (Cambium Leadership) and Ian Brown (Tower Kitchens and Millwork).