Boundary Country Region Chamber of Commerce elected a new board of directors last week at their AGM. From left to right: Michelle Mui (Greenwood,) Jeff Fero, Vanessa Favell, Amber Esovoloff (Downtown Business Association Liaison), Hendrik Van Wyk (West Boundary), Cathy Korolek (City Liaison), Jason McIver (Christina Lake). (Jensen Edwards/Grand Forks Gazette)

Chamber of commerce adjusts course after 2018 overspend

Businesses have already seen support this year from a downtown revitalization expert

Once they saw that they were on track to spend nearly $28,000 more than they had in revenue for 2018, the board members of the Boundary Country Regional Chamber of Commerce let go of their one paid staff member and took the helm as volunteers.

“We did what we had to do to get back on track,” said Vanessa Favell, the organization’s treasurer, at an AGM held last week.

A lack of grant success, the flood and a lower number of members all contributed to the loss too, leaving the Chamber approximately $11,000 short of its 2018 projected revenue. For the next year though, Favell insisted, “we’re 100 per cent dedicated to being mindful of our budget and to not spend more than we receive.”

One success that came to the group recently was through a Rural Dividend Grant. Funds from the grant have gone towards hiring an Events Coordinator for Grand Forks and to supporting economic development through Community Futures.

As part of the effort to grow business in Grand Forks, the group is bringing in consultants to support entrepreneurs who are trying to get back on their feet after last year’s flood and to develop strategies to bring traffic off the highway and into downtown.

Moving forward, the BCRCC’s budget is much smaller for 2019. Board members estimate that they will spend $39,750 this year on events like Movies in the Park, networking evenings and business consultant sessions.

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