Alfred Heim
Published On: Thu, Jul 2nd, 2015

Editorial: South Stormont Chamber of Commerce Missing In Action by Reg Coffey

 

 

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It seems that just about every event that I attend I am asked the same question. What is happening with the Chamber of Commerce? It is embarrassing because I have to give the same answer, “I don’t know”. With three companies registered as members of the chamber and being a former director, other businesses expect me to be on top of Chamber activities. Even our neighbouring chambers are wondering what is going on in South Stormont. I have even been told by business owners that they inquired about joining the chamber and the reply from the Chamber president, Donna Primeau whose own business has closed, was that they were not signing new members at that time.

The Chamber of Commerce in South Stormont was first incorporated in 2001 under the Board of Trades Act. Over the years membership had dropped until 2013 when a membership drive brought enough businesses into the Chamber to elect a new full board of directors and a new set of executives as required by the by-laws. Since then it has all gone downhill. They now have a politician as president and an executive committee keeps the Chamber inactive through indecisiveness or possibly incompetence. A corporation, including a Chamber of Commerce, is required to register the officers of that corporation with Industry Canada every year. A quick search of Industry Canada’s database shows that our Chamber has not complied since 2009.

 

As a director I was assigned the task of revising the by-laws and several versions of revised by-laws were presented to the Chamber. As a result I was voted out of the board of directors without cause in a special meeting. I can only believe that it was just another item on the municipal election campaign agenda of Chamber’s president, Donna Primeau. At the last AGM, where the executive committee is elected, the date of the AGM was changed frequently and finally set on a date where dissenting members of the chamber could not attend. Email addresses conveniently were left off of group mailings and questions about the minutes of meetings went unanswered. As far as I know they have not even collected dues this year, but then I don’t always get their emails.

 

The Chamber of Commerce can be a valuable asset to a community if they actually support businesses and help stimulate the economy. Even the vision statement for the South Stormont Chamber is “To foster the economic and social well-being of the community” states that much. By being non-active they are missing opportunities to promote not only the businesses here but South Stormont in general. Businesses looking to set up shop here in South Stormont need to know if there is a functioning organization to help support their interests. Currently there is none. This is a huge disservice to South Stormont.

 

The only thing the current executive have been active at is attacking their own members who question their decisions and motivations. Other than that they have been missing in action. If the current executive committee don’t want to, or are incapable of, using the Chamber to help the business community then they should step down and let someone else take the over. Too many opportunities to improve the economic climate in South Stormont have been missed already.

If you don’t want to cook, get out of the kitchen.

UPDATE: A CHECK OF CORPORATIONS CANADA DATABASE SHOWS THAT THE CHAMBER HAS FILED THE CURRENT DIRECTORS NAMES AND ADDRESSES WITH CORPORATIONS CANADA THIS YEAR.