In 2010, the Bowen Island Chamber of Commerce accomplished a great deal while facing some challenges.
First, the accomplishments!
With a small board of seven members, the chamber has taken a very active part in the island political process, particularly with the official community plan update and the national park initiative. A special mention here is due to board member Paul Rickett for his involvement in the weekly national park meeting schedule. Also of note is the road sign to Bowen Island that the chamber was instrumental in having installed on the Upper Levels highway. Now tourists can more easily find their way to Bowen Island! Getting Bowen on the road map required a great deal of negotiation culminating in a request to our local MLA.
The chamber worked closely with the Bowen Island Arts Council to commission two public art projects. The statue "Embracing the Spirit of the Flame" by Winadzi James and Shane Tweten was unveiled by MP John Weston to great Island fanfare on June 12. The statue provides Islanders and visitors with a wonderful, lasting memory of the 2010 Olympic Games. In February 2011, Josh Van Dyke's stylish mural "Corridor" became another, very welcome, addition to the beauty of our island gateway.
During the Olympics, the chamber joined with the Bowen Island Arts Council and the Spirit committee to help create all the celebrations on the island including the No-Snow Winter Games in Village Square.
In the fall, the chamber hosted the second chamber golf tournament in beautiful weather on what all will agree is the most scenic golf course in the province. The year closed with the always well-attended and beloved Light Up The Cove celebration.
Thanks go to our dedicated board members Rod Marsh, Paul Rickett, Piers Hayes, Dwyane Mathews, Jacqueline Massey and manager Suzanne Carvell.
In 2011, the Chamber will produce a brand new map guide to help visitors enjoy the Island. Local artist Rob Wall will design the map and have 30,000 copies printed for distribution throughout the Lower Mainland in time for the May 24th long weekend. The Chamber has secured a permanent place on a bulkhead of the Queen of Capilano to display the maps.
The chamber has also secured a three-year contract with council to operate the visitors' centre from the May long weekend to the Labour Day weekend. Plans are underway for the council to work very closely with the Bowen arts council to staff and manage the centre.
And as for the challenges, the chamber, like many organizations in this economy, was not able to increase its income in 2010 to the levels needed to best serve Bowen businesses. However, the goal for 2011 is to attract a wider membership. More members mean more services and brighter prospects!
The businesses on Bowen have a great opportunity to join together to network, to take advantage of group benefits, and to make a real difference in how the Island presents itself to the world.
The call is out for people interested in serving on the chamber of commerce board. Here's an opportunity to be part of the solution. An extraordinary meeting of the Chamber will be held at 7:30 on May 25 at Evergreen Hall. The meeting is open to everyone on Bowen - whether a member of the chamber of commerce or not.
Come and work with a dedicated group of volunteers to build the chamber into a strong, viable body.
that serves and supports a strong membership.
CAROL CRAMM & DANIEL HEALD, CHAMBER OF COMMERCE