Cumberland Chamber of Commerce at crossroads

The Cumberland Chamber of Commerce will ask its membership to consider a merger with the Comox Valley Chamber of Commerce.

The Cumberland Chamber of Commerce will ask its membership to consider various options — including a possible merger with the Comox Valley Chamber of Commerce — at its annual general meeting.

The proposal would give members a “relevant voice and position within that Chamber,” and would allow members to transition or leave with a refund, the resolution states.

Local government money and Tourism BC funds have been redirected to the Comox Valley Economic Development Society for the Vancouver Island Visitor Centre. Remaining Chamber revenue from membership dues and events do not support a paid administrator and office space, the cumberland Chamber stated in its newsletter.

Furthermore, there are no funds to provide services such as stocking tourism materials, answering phone and e-mail inquiries, and providing face-to-face service, the newsletter continued. Destination marketing such as maintaining the cumberlandbc.org website is not feasible on a volunteer basis.

In addition, the Chamber no longer has a government mandate related to tourism services.

“Clearly, the Chamber needs to either find funding for a staff member or radically change the scope of operations,” a statement reads.

The Chamber has outlined four options:

• Negotiate a merger with the Comox Valley Chamber, which would allow for new collaboration and opportunities;

• Reduce Cumberland Chamber activities to member communication and event production, led by board members and volunteers;

• Cease activities and wind up the Chamber’s assets;

• Fund a staff position to continue to provide services at previous or increased levels.

Comox Valley Chamber of Commerce president/CEO Dianne Hawkins said the decision is entirely in the hands of the Cumberland Chamber and its members.

“The Comox Valley Chamber supports the Cumberland Chamber in its initiatives and we enjoy our collaborative working relationship,” Hawkins said.

Cumberland Chamber members are encouraged to discuss the options and elect a new board at the April 10 AGM. Non-members are welcome to attend and observe.

Meeting time is 7 p.m. at Carmie’s Cafe, 2699 Dunsmuir.

reporter@comoxvalleyrecord.com

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