County of Wetaskiwin council heard from two local Chambers of Commerce requesting their annual funding at the general council meeting Nov. 6.
Both the Wetaskiwin Chamber of Commerce and Pigeon Lake Chamber of Commerce appeared separately before council to discuss their past year and 2019 funding.
Chamber president Wayne Di Lallo, executive director Jennifer Garries and staff member Pam Ganske appeared to speak to council. It was noted in the council agenda memo, “The Wetaskiwin Chamber has 240 members for 2018, down a bit from the 245 members in 2017.”
Di Lallo noted this is the third year that the Wetaskiwin Chamber is being operated by the Leduc Chamber of Commerce and that an official union is in the works.
Garries reminded councilors one of the perks of joining the chamber is access to a health and benefits package through the organization.
Also, the upcoming renovation to the Reynolds Alberta Museum in Wetaskiwin scheduled for spring, 2019 was mentioned; Garries and Di Lallo both noted the local chamber is lobbying hard with the provincial government to get as much work as possible for local businesses and contractors. They said the chamber is still waiting to hear back if local trades will be involved; if local business can get involved in the renovation, it could be a huge boon to the local business community noted the president.
Planning is already underway for the annual business awards gala; it’s scheduled for Mar. 9, 2019.
The chamber’s budget request, noted Garries, was $7,750 for 2019, about $5,000 less than the previous year. Those dollars would go to support activities such as Ag Initiatives ($2,000), January Chamber Luncheon (Angus Watt $1,000), February Chamber Luncheon – Crime Update/Pink Shirt Day ($1,000), April Chamber Luncheon (Joint Reeve and JEDI Update $1,000), September Chamber Luncheon (Meet in Millet $1,000), Business Education/Workshops/Roundtables ($750), December Chamber Luncheon (Spirit of Giving $500.) and the county’s chamber membership.
Di Lallo stated that councilor Dale Woitt has been a great asset to the chamber of commerce board.
Councilors unanimously approved the chamber’s budget request.
In a separate presentation council also heard from Pigeon Lake Chamber of Commerce chair Tom Karpa and administrator Chantelle Van Slyke. The agenda memo stated, “Currently the PLRCC has 102 members with many facing the challenges associated with the slow recovery of the mainly rural economy.”
Karpa noted the chamber was requesting about 33 per cent more funding than last year, $10,000 from $7,500 the year before. He noted projects include the ice golf weekend, the visitor information centre and more and the organization is hoping to keep membership dues the same as last year.
He noted the chamber is also planning on a member survey this year about prosperity in the region.
Councilor Woitt asked Karpa how the chamber of commerce addresses the issue of blue-green algae in the lake. Karpa stated the chamber is a member of the Pigeon lake Watershed Association and lets people know the algae situation has improved markedly over the past few years.
Woitt responded, “So with the information you have, it is improving?” Karpa answered, “Yes, it is.”
Council decided by vote to approve $7,500 funding to the Pigeon Lake chamber, and discuss further funding during budget deliberations.