Chamber speaks up

The Barriere and District Chamber of Commerce respond to comments made by Mayor Fennell

To the editor;

The Barriere and District Chamber of Commerce (Chamber)would like to respond to Mayor Fennell’s out-of-context and misleading comments at the All-Candidates Forum our membership sponsored last Thursday, November 3.  The funds the Mayor referred to were given to the Chamber after the wildfires of 2003 from the Economic and Development Committee [EDAC].  As a distribution center, the funds were disbursed through the North Thompson Valley as directed by the Province of B.C. and the EDAC board.

Neither the Chamber, nor any of its members, had any gain beyond “fee for service” work in tourism and economic development.  For the last six years, this tourism and economic development was achieved via representation at trade shows in Edmonton, Calgary, and Abbotsford.   The design and production of acclaimed brochures, maps and trail guides distributed throughout B.C., Alberta, and Washington, has paid great dividends locally by way of increased tourist traffic in the region; more specifically, increased sales for Barriere businesses and increased occupancy for accommodators in the District of Barriere and Area ‘O’, and the development of a Tourism Business Plan and a Tourism Committee with full support from Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association (TOTA) and Tourism BC.  This has brought the Lower North Thompson Valley tourism stakeholders together to work collectively for a better future – Barriere is now on the map in a positive way.

We have participated in many projects in the community and surrounding area since the early 1990’s when the Chamber was responsible for initiating the sponsorship of Barriere Employment Services (BES).  As such, BES has been awarded many Job Creation Programs such as cleaning up the airport property, work in the Fall Fair grounds, GPS’d walking/riding trails and after the fires of 2003, the contracts to build the corrals at Fish Trap on Westsyde Road and the replacement of fencing for area ranchers.

This has all been achieved through the efforts and support of the 70 plus members of the Chamber for the community and valley, and simply follows the Chamber’s mission statement: “The Barriere and District Chamber of Commerce exists to represent the business community, encourage local economic stability and growth; to promote the community and quality of life; and to provide the means for dialogue among businesses and the public.”

Barriere & District Chamber of Commerce Executive and Directors