By KAREN WELLS
LEWISPORTE & AREA — Now more than ever it is important for businesses and municipalities to support the Lewisporte and Area Chamber of Commerce.
Chamber president Maisie Clark said there has been a void left in the area without the Lewisporte Area Development Association and Lewisporte Area Economic Development Committee.
“Right now the Chamber is the only organization that supports the area in terms of lobbying,” said Ms. Clark.
Add to that the fact that the Regional Economic Development (RED) Boards will be no more in the spring of 2013.
“I think the Chamber is going to have an even greater role to play than they did before,” she said. “The RED boards were out to support growth, strength, and economic development throughout the province. They were there to provide training opportunities, marketing advice, proposal writing, leveraging funds, etcetera.
“I think the Chamber has to pick up the role probably for providing more training for business, and providing more information for them on funding and marketing.”
But none of that can happen without a strong membership being the core of the Chamber.
“Our membership could stand to increase,” said Ms. Clark. “A lot of area businesses are not members of the Chamber.
“Those that are members need to attend more of the events because we only hear from some of the businesses when they are in trouble, but any organization is only as good as its members and unless you attend and let us know what your needs are, then there’s nothing we can do about it. We need to have a better connection with the business community.”
It’s not just the business community that the Chamber represents. Municipalities play an important role in the Chamber and their involvement is also encouraged. The communities covered under the umbrella of the local Chamber include those from Norris Arm to Boyd’s Cove, basically the Lewisporte electoral district. But Ms. Clark would also like to see other communities in the region involved in the area Chamber, including those as far as Twillingate, up to Gander Bay and Fogo Island.