Sylvan Lake Chamber of Commerce’s board of directors is in place for another year, and, comprising members both old and new, is a group President Dwayne Stoesz is looking forward to working with.
“Half of our directors are new, and they’ve all got an awful lot of talent and experience to bring to the table,” he said. “There are a lot of new faces on the chamber.”
Roles and tasks among members will be divided and assigned according to each member’s individual skill set, interests and experience.
Stoesz feels that, with the diversity of expertise, this will ensure that work carried out by the chamber is both effective and efficient.
“I’ve got some people already designated for certain portfolios, and we’re not done putting together the entire portfolio, yet,” he said. “We want to make sure we do this right, and we want to make sure that not everybody is overwhelmed.”
He added that in the past, good intentions have gone unfulfilled due to hesitance shown in following through on them.
“Sometimes things tend to fall flat, or they tend to fall on somebody else’s shoulders.
“We’re not going to rush things. If we can find the right people for the right roles, things will get accomplished more efficiently, quicker and with more accuracy.”
Stoesz said that the creation of individual portfolios, which is currently underway, is part of a strategic plan to determine a clear direction for the chamber.
That’s something he feels has been missing in recent years.
“Our mandate is and always has been to promote local shopping and local business, and to build membership, but it’s become more than that,” he said. “In order to accomplish a lot of these goals, we need to take these directors and put them in positions where their talents are most useful.”
One of the portfolios will revolve around a new focus for the chamber — tourism.
“Tourism is a portfolio that hasn’t been done by the chamber, and it hasn’t been done by the town,” said Stoesz. “It’s something that the town has relied on for so many years, but, ironically, we have no tourism director.”
An independent body or a partnership between the chamber and the town are both possibilities for charging that particular initiative, he added.
“There are a lot of resources available to us, and there are a lot of resources available to the town, but nobody has taken a stronghold on it. Nobody has gripped it and said let’s run with this.
“I don’t know that the chamber’s purview is that tourism falls into that category, but if we can help design or designate an independent body that can take on that role, I think we are going to see some dramatic increases in attraction.”
Last year, chamber members were kept busy by the municipal elections, and hosted both election forums and the mayoral debate at the community centre.
They also played their part in centennial celebrations, and hosted various other events, including the Mermaid Ball and Business Awards, and a small business Christmas party.
This year, fundraising will be carried out through projects including a shop local coupon book, and an area map advertising local businesses.
Small business education and continuing to work with the town will be priorities, according to Stoesz.
“We’re going to work very, very closely with the town,” he said. “Going way back, there’s been a barrier between the two to communicate, and now, I really truly believe that the chamber and the town have come together, and the members are really starting to see some projects come to fruition.
“They’re really starting to see some light at the end of the tunnel.”
The chamber’s 2014 board comprises Dwayne Stoesz – president, Joel Johannson – vice president, Josh Welton – treasurer, and directors Greg Weik, Keri Pratt, Debbie Klingbeil, Doreen Carey, Evan Hardy, Joe Furman, Doug McGill, Sharon Toews and Michael Williams.
Portfolio designations will be posted on the chamber’s website at www.sylvanlakechamber.com.