Your business leaders in action

Feb. 21 marks the beginning of Chamber of Commerce Week in BC. This is an opportunity for the Peninsula Chamber — and chambers across the province -— to demonstrate the outstanding value they provide to our communities.

Feb. 21 marks the beginning of Chamber of Commerce Week in BC. This is an opportunity for the Peninsula Chamber — and chambers across the province -— to demonstrate the outstanding value they provide to our communities.

Chambers of commerce offer value in the form of benefits and services to stimulate local economies, direct community promotion and support, and engagement in an important multi-level advocacy role which benefits the entire province. Specifically, the Peninsula Chamber offers its members cost-savings, promotional opportunities, tourism services, education and leadership development — and brings business to your door.

Advocacy efforts of chambers of commerce in BC represent some of their most important work. Chambers raise issues that concern both their members and the community at large with local, provincial and federal governments. The network of more than 120 chambers of commerce across BC is a unique business organization, and gives issues a voice beyond the local level. This provides much needed input to public policy, which benefits local economic and social well-being. On the Peninsula, council liaisons from all three municipalities have a seat at the Peninsula Chamber board of directors’ table. This provides an avenue for two way communication between local government and the business community. The chamber is also in touch with our local MLA and MP and 13 district chambers.

Direct support for businesses and the community constitute another central area of chamber focus. Support for local businesses stimulates local economies and creates vibrant communities around the province. The Peninsula Chamber makes a positive difference for its members by providing a voice and services that shape the environment for business success, and works diligently to promote and assist our communities. Notable here are the More to Explore brochure and the Peninsula Chamber’s newly signed contract with the Town of Sidney, to provide year ‘round visitor services at the Beacon Avenue Visitor Centre. The Peninsula Chamber operates two additional VCs that disburse visitors throughout the community and the region — sending business to your door.

Chambers of commerce are community leaders in action. The Saanich Peninsula Chamber of Commerce 20 member volunteer board of directors — the leaders in action — comprises representatives from a broad range of business sectors and provides the voice of business for more than 500 members.

New employee volunteer program

If you’re in business on the Saanich Peninsula, you benefit from tourism. Visitors arrive here by the thousands, annually. Are you and your staff asked questions you can’t answer, from visitors who need information?

The Peninsula Chamber offers a new program whereby employers can send a staff member to one of the three Visitor Centres to volunteer for a weekly four-hour shift. Employers agree to pay regular wages while the employee volunteers. The formal tourism training is free. Volunteers are most needed during the peak tourism season, after the May long weekend until early September.

After training, your employee will be familiar with Peninsula back roads and local attractions; have knowledge of other Peninsula businesses; and demonstrate improved customer service skills. This is a great opportunity for business to contribute to the wealth of the community.

Contact Carol Whitehouse, manager, visitor services for an orientation and more details: 250-665-7362.

Eileen Leddy is executive director of the Saanich Peninsula Chamber of Commerce. Contact her at eleddy@peninsulachamber.ca.