Published On: Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Duncan Cowichan Chamber Elects New BoD

Duncan Cowichan Chamber Elects New BoD

- Sonja Nagel is Executive Director of the Duncan Cowichan Chamber of Commerce. She can be reached at or 250.748.1111.

COWICHAN VALLEY - The Duncan Cowichan Chamber of Commerce recently held its Annual General Meeting (AGM). Fifty-eight individuals were in attendance, representing 45 member organizations. Members conducted general business for the organization, and acclaimed eight new and returning Directors to the Board.

Directors Acclaimed at 2016 AGM: Karen Bittner, Royal LePage; Brenda Burch, Social Media is Simple; Chris Duncan, MNP LLP; Ruth Hartmann, Hartmann Interior Design; Moira Hauk, Coastal Community Credit Union; Gary Osborne, Worthy Developments; Julie Scurr, Queen Margaret’s School and Marsha Todd, Unique Home Health Care.

Directors continuing their term: Danielle Killam, Grant Thorton LLP; Penny Lehan, Coleman Fraser Whittome Lehan Lawyers & Notaries; Carol Messier, Maple Bay Marina and Jason Price, Valley Life Insurance Solutions Inc.

The Chamber Board also includes Appointed Liaisons and Municipal Liaisons from: the Duncan Downtown Business Improvement Association, Vancouver Island University, Community Futures Cowichan, Economic Development Cowichan, City of Duncan and Municipality of North Cowichan.

The evening included a presentation from Amy Melmock, Manager of Economic Development Cowichan. Describing the diverse considerations that underwrite economic development, Melmock stated, “Economic development in Cowichan is transformational, connecting community and business aspirations.”

Chamber President Julie Scurr highlighted the Chamber’s varied Board representation, and ongoing engagement with Economic Development Cowichan, the Tourism Cowichan Society, local government and other partnerships as key to the Chamber’s success and its contribution to the community.

Scurr reported on the Chamber’s policy to address a tax classification imbalance on the production facilities at small wineries and cideries. Developed in partnership with other Chambers, the policy was unanimously accepted at the BC Chamber AGM and forms part of the provincial body’s lobbying efforts.

The Chamber partnered with MNP and Community Futures Cowichan on the Cowichan Economic Outlook Survey, and presented the results at the Business Leaders Breakfast. Now the partners, including Economic Development Cowichan, are conducting a series of sector-specific roundtables to research and identify business challenges.

Chamber President Julie Scurr stated, “The Chamber advocates for opportunities, and develops strategic partnerships that benefit our community economically and socially, to make Cowichan the best it can be.”

Secretary-Treasurer Danielle Killam reported that the 2015/16 fiscal year was firmly in the black, due to careful planning which included cost controls and additional revenue-generating activities.

Executive Director Sonja Nagel reported that the Chamber welcomed 81 new members, roughly seven new members per month. Chamber staff continues to organize 50 events per year, processing 1500 RSVP’s and ticket sales.

The luncheon speaker series welcomed presenters BC Ferries CEO Mike Corrigan, Tilray CEO Greg Engle, John Elzinga of the Cowichan Valley Regional District, Steelhead LNG and others. Events included the 4th Annual Business Showcase, and the 20th Black Tie Awards – both of which achieved record attendance.

The Chamber also operates the Cowichan Regional Visitor Centre (CRVC) that served more than 25,000 visitors in the 2015 calendar year, and is on track to serve 27,000 + by the end of 2016. These statistics include the CRVC’s Mobile Visitor Services Program which engages visitors at events throughout Cowichan.