Gibsons & District Chamber of Commerce, Sechelt & District Chamber of Commerce, and Pender Harbour & District Chamber of Commerce have begun the process of becoming a single Sunshine Coast Chamber of Commerce.
Over the summer, Chairs of each Board of Directors signed a formal Letter of Intent to merge. A volunteer task force is now in place to take the necessary steps toward a favourable member vote in November.
There are significant advantages to a consolidated Chamber on the Lower Sunshine Coast, including:
- Power in numbers. As a prominent singular voice for the business community with combined membership of nearly 500, our business sector will have more influence with Municipal, Provincial, and Federal Governments.
- Membership benefits. Your membership will reach even further. Your business will have access to a broader network of potential customers and vendors; stronger advocacy clout; greater business resources, and an increased regional audience to support business growth. Business owners from across the Sunshine Coast will also have more opportunities to meet each other, share ideas and build relationships.
- Operational efficiencies. Increased exposure and cost effectiveness for the entire Sunshine Coast membership through our online directory, social media channels, marketing and advertising, sponsorship, events, and new partnerships and collaborations.
- Shared resources. Combined operations, human resources, volunteer opportunities, and administration may reduce overhead expenses resulting in more revenue for membership programming and services.
Our goal is to have one consolidated Sunshine Coast Chamber of Commerce set up by first quarter 2024, followed by a more public introduction to the new entity by May. In the meantime, each Chamber of Commerce will continue to operate and serve members, with no changes Board members, membership fees, or services.
Who is involved in the committee leading the merger?
The volunteer Merger Task Force involves the following delegates from each Chamber of Commerce Board: Doug Marteinson, Gibsons; Ron Badley, Pender Harbour; and Gaetan Royer, representing Sechelt.
Colin Stansfield from the Sunshine Coast Regional Economic Development Association (SCREDO) and Morgan Beall from Community Futures Sunshine Coast, are positioned as task force strategic partners.
How can I make sure I’m fully informed before I vote?
Each Chamber of Commerce will hold information sessions in October to allow for in-person member conversation and feedback. Ongoing updates will be published monthly in member newsletters and at times, via social and traditional media.
Task Force members and staff welcome and encourage members to reach out anytime with questions, concerns or ideas.
Will my membership fees increase when the merged organization opens?
Membership fees renewed or opened with all three Chambers of Commerce through 2024 will see no increase to annual dues. At this time, we are unsure how membership fees will be organized or set when the new Chamber opens.
How will you retain local identity and representation?
This question holds top priority and consideration for all three Boards. Each Chamber of Commerce has a proud history of serving its distinct trade areas. There is a commitment to retaining customized (Gibsons, Sechelt, Pender Harbour) networking opportunities, communications channels and events that are easily accessible, and close to members’ businesses and home communities.
How will the member vote be implemented?
At this point we are developing a secure e-voting process, with an opportunity to cast your vote in person should you choose. An independent scrutineer will oversee tallying and reporting the outcome.
What happens after the vote?
Following a favourable member vote, a provisional Board of Directors will be formed with equal representation from each existing Chamber of Commerce. This group of volunteers will work toward fair and equitable governance policies and integrated operational structures that respect the past and build a foundation for a strong future.
Where will the merged Chamber of Commerce be located?
We will have a clearer picture on this closer to the vote. Please share your thoughts around whether the future organization benefits from a retail office going forward, and where a new location could be.
Task Force key contacts
(Feel free to reach out to staff team members as well)
Gaetan Royer, Board Chair
Sechelt & District Chamber of Commerce
Vice Chair, Gibsons & District Chamber of Commerce
President, Pender Harbour & Egmont Chamber of Commerce
Janice Iverson, Project Facilitator