Cumberland Chamber of Commerce members decided at last week’s annual general meeting that merging with the Comox Valley Chamber of Commerce might be in their best interests.
“We will be pursuing that course over the next few months,” said Evan Loveless, who was replaced Wednesday as Cumberland Chamber president by Bill Ransom. “We think it’s the best future for the Chamber. It makes sense to merge. I look at it as a positive thing to make one strong Chamber for the whole Valley.”
Ransom said the possibility of a merger “means the development of a unified voice that can advocate in all our municipalities and regional areas for policy that supports the development, retention and success of local business.
“Cumberland can be a strong partner in this voice,” he said.
Details of the process are still to be determined.
The reason for the merger is largely because 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.
There are also no funds to stock tourism materials, answer phone and email inquiries, and provide face-to-face service.
However, Loveless said there is still a strong desire to look at economic development in Cumberland “on its own merits and initiative. How the Chamber engages with Cumberland will be an ongoing conversation,” he said.
The Chamber intends to continue with events such as Market Days and with the cumberlandbc.org website, which Loveless notes is an effective tool for attracting people to the village.
The Cumberland Chamber consists of about 40 active members.
The Comox Valley Chamber’s AGM is Thursday.