Saanich Peninsula Chamber of Commerce on good ground this year

Chamber focus for 2017 is on member services and improving overall levels of service.

Saanich Peninsula Chamber of Commerce President Doug Walker

Saanich Peninsula Chamber of Commerce President Doug Walker

They’re in the black and planning more member-specific services this year.

The Saanich Peninsula Chamber of Commerce reported a profit during their annual general meeting this month — good news for the local business organization that had faced increased costs in the past and still holds an overall budget deficit of around $5,300. To save money and refocus their goals as an organization, they moved offices from downtown Sidney into their Pat Bay Highway visitor information centre. The Chamber also decided to not bid on the Town of Sidney’s visitor services contract — which was awarded to the Sidney Business Improvement Area Society at the end of December.

President Doug Walker said last year was one of transition for the local Chamber.

“We decided not to pursue a renewal of visitor services with the Town of Sidney,” he said. “Instead, we are providing tourist services at the Pat Bay centre and we have more of a focus now on local member services and support.”

Walker added the Chamber was also successful in getting some new funding from the District of North Saanich to support the highway visitor centre operations.

Chamber Treasurer Sheila Henn noted in her financial report that the Chamber is in a much better cash position overall: a loan was paid off last October, for example.

Executive Director Denny Warner said the focus now is to make their visitor centre a community information centre — a resource for visitors and locals alike about each of the Peninsula’s three municipal areas.

Moving into the Pat Bay location, she added, created new efficiencies for the Chamber, enabling them to update their website and reach out to its membership businesses on a variety of topics.

The Chamber, during their AGM, elected a new board of directors. The new board will soon select from among their number a new president to replace Walker, whose term is up.