By Cole Parkinson
The Vauxhall Business Society is going the way of the dinosaur.
After many years of trying, the Vauxhall Chamber of Commerce is finally off the ground after gaining a Certificate of Recognition which officially recognizes the board as the Vauxhall and District Chamber of Commerce (VDCC).
The boundaries for the new chamber includes the Town of Vauxhall, adjourning territory, north and northeast of Newell boundaries, east to Cypress Country boundaries, south to Highway 521 and Highway 875, west to Country of Lethbridge boundaries and west and north to County of Vulcan boundaries.
With the chamber now a real thing for the Vauxhall area, those involved with the process are excited to get to work.
“What we have learned over the past two years is that each chamber has a wide range of activities it can and will provide to its members. Looking at the activities in the Alberta Chamber of Commerce, the following points are active discussion group with sub-groups on different activities directed by individual member and/or boards. Following just a heading of the issues on the provincial level, bringing this to a federal level will get even busier. We, again, have to find guidance from members what they feel is important by prioritizing in the future. The work can be endless, but only so much can be tackled,” said Joerg Klempnauer, acting VDCC president. “Group health plans are a very valuable option for smaller businesses, farms etcetera, and we will work on this first to be able to provide this to companies and family businesses in our area.”
The VDCC has a list of things they want to put their focus towards including aboriginal relations, agriculture and forestry, culture and tourism, economic development and trade, education, energy, environment and parks, finance and treasury board, health, innovation and advanced education, jobs, skills, training, labour, municipal affairs, transportation but they know it’s unrealistic to take it all on at once.
In the near future though, the VDCC has a set of goals they wish to complete.
“What we see happening relatively soon is joining the Alberta Chamber of Commerce to get access to the provincial chamber framework, setting up a Facebook page for our communication, changing the webpage to VDCC and hopefully, keeping it current more than our old website, but this will come with the proper staffing and this needs to be addressed after we have gone through possible funding and budget discussion in the general meeting. We hope to hold a general meeting of both organizations, VDCC to look at any needed board members to be elected, but we only have one vacancy at this point and to get guidance on what members want us to do,” said Klempnauer. “Secondly, move funds from the VBS over to the VDCC and dissolve the VBS.”
Another thing that needs to be sorted is who the board members will be.
Currently, the board isn’t set in stone and moving forward it will need to be figured out.
Even as the acting president, Klempnauer doesn’t see himself as a long-serving member.
“The present board is only temporary and we will see what is possible once we will have a full, member-elected board and who is on it and what the vision will be. I have served as president of the VBS for some time now and I was elected as interim VDCC president. I hope to have a very capable person take the new VDCC forward to much higher levels than the VBS ever could do.”
While the process certainly took longer than any of the members hoped, the wait was well worth it in order to have their own chamber.
Klempnauer also wanted to recognize anyone who had been involved in the past two years in order to make the VDCC a reality.
“Our thanks go to the chartering members that have three times gone through the process of signing the Memorandum of Incorporation and did not lose confidence to believe in our goal. Also, to the present board members for the work they have done to make this happening, mainly our secretary Peter van Uden and treasurer, Jennifer Schaefer. The Taber & District Chamber of Commerce was essential in getting this through with giving up the area we have now from their mandate. The M.D. of Taber was also always supportive through former council members Bob Wallace and Dwight Tolton and the newly elected councillors, Jennifer Crowson, Leavitt Howg and Murray Reynolds, being elected in our mandated area, gave strong support to become a Chamber. The Lethbridge Chamber of Commerce was also always supportive and we are so thankful for all the help we have received over the past years,” he said.
With Canada Day approaching this weekend, the VBS will be hosting their final event for the celebration.
“The VBS will still make the July 1 pancake breakfast from 8-10 a.m. and we will hand this annual event over to the VDCC,” added Klempnauer.
For now though, Klempnauer is just grateful for the support in the endeavour.
“It is amazing how much support our small communities can provide.”