The Wetaskiwin business community’s prime advocate recently moved and is enjoying a new home.
The Wetaskiwin and District Chamber of Commerce moved a few weeks ago to a new location in the downtown area, 4819 49 Avenue, next to Wok and Roll and across the street from Super Bee Truck Accessories.
When asked why the Chamber moved its office out of the visitor centre, executive director Judi Best responded the City of Wetaskiwin informed the chamber, previously located in the visitor information centre, the city was moving in a different direction.
“The City of Wetaskiwin made the decision to restructure its tourism and marketing departments by consolidating activities with the VIC to better help realize the goals and objectives outline of their 2015 – 18 Strategic Plan,” stated Best in an email to the Pipestone Flyer.
“The chamber was completely unaware of the city’s plan, and no discussions took place before they called a meeting without executive committee of the board. It was a shock, but we knew we had to roll up our sleeves, make some operational change and continue to support our members.
“The question we are constantly being asked by members is ‘What is the city thinking, it only makes sense to have the chamber and the VIC together.’
“Our board has made the decision to forge forward and to continue to support our members to the fullest extent. We will continue to be an advocacy for our members, provide educational and marketing opportunities for them to participate in. Today it is business as usual and we are especially happy that our members have made the decision to continue to support us moving into 2016.”
When asked to comment on the issue, City of Wetaskiwin Mayor Bill Elliot said the municipality wanted to move in a new direction at the VIC and with tourism and marketing.
“By all means the city is still going to support the chamber,” said Elliot by phone Jan. 28. “There’s no animosity there is what I’m trying to say.”
Elliot said the proposed plan calls for city staff who work in tourism and marketing to move into the VIC, but he noted no final decision has been made. As well, the city budget should not be seriously affected because the tax money previously granted to the chamber is available.
Chamber press release
In a press release to the Pipestone Flyer, executive director Judi Best stated, “It’s with great anticipation and pleasure to let you know that on January 6, 2016, we relocated to a more comfortable and member friendly office. Our new location is 4819 49 Avenue, located south of Mike’s Western Wear or east of the Wok & Roll Restaurant. Our phone number remains the same at 780-352-8003 and our primary email address is still firstname.lastname@example.org. The website is www.wetaskiwinchamber.com. Several of our members have dropped into to see the new office and have been impressed. We invite you all to drop by with your business cards for our members display and see our new offices.
“The City of Wetaskiwin announced on December 4, 2015, they were not renewing the contract for managing of the Visitor Information Centre and that we must move. We immediately had to put our heads together to find a new home, look at our operating capital, and revise the 2016 business plan and strategic plan.
“The board knew they had to make tough decisions. The outcome of this decision was “yes”, we will continue “Moving Forward” to make a positive difference in our business community
“In these challenging economic times, the board and staff believe our role as a chamber is more important than ever. The chamber will continue to be a strong voice for our business community. We maintained our diverse range of programs and events offerings despite the economic challenges. We will continue to provide our members with visibility, networking, advocacy, and marketing opportunities for their business. We have committed to continue to be a role model and leader in the City of Wetaskiwin.
“We know the biggest challenge for the Chamber of Commerce now more than ever is be to sustainable. We will continue to build partnerships and encourage those businesses, who are not currently members to engage with the Chamber and take advantage of our programs benefitting there business in today’s economy and the future of business of Wetaskiwin.
“We are currently in the process of finalizing plans for our annual events and programs, together with updating the website and developing partnerships and obtaining sponsorships. “