• WPCC membership continues to grow with goal to reach 300 by 2022

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    WPCC membership continues to grow with goal to reach 300 by 2022

     The Executive Director of the West Prince Chamber of Commerce (WPCC) is confident that reaching a 300 membership base is an achievable goal for the chamber.
    “We are reaching out to more and more farmers and fishermen and even oyster growers and I do think there’s a lot more potential there for new members to come on,” said Tammy Rix during the WPCC’s Annual General Meeting at Mill River Resort on Feb. 24.
    At the AGM, the WPCC reported they currently have 211 members, up from last year at 166, with a goal to reach 300 by 2022.
    Ms Rix said the growth of WPCC since being reestablished in 2017 has been quick.
    “I think chamber has grown quite fast, actually, faster than I first thought,” she said. “Having a large chamber will mean having more member engagement and a large chamber will be heard loud and clear.”
    Treasurer Mike Adams said the WPCC received a clean audit report, despite a challenging year financially for the chamber.
    This was the first year the WPCC didn’t receive any grants to have a portion of the executive director’s wages funded, however, reaching the goal of 300 members would allow the chamber to be self-sustaining.
    Mr Adams said the increase of members from 166 to 211 in the last few months has been substantial.
    “It’s really encouraging to see,” he said.
    The board of directors had toyed with the idea of having Ms Rix only work part-time, but it was decided that would only stall the progress of new members joining the chamber, said Mr Adams.
    “We voted against that and kept Tammy on full-time for the majority of the year,” explained Mr Adams. “We’re over budget there, but I think the results speak for themselves that our membership is growing substantially since the beginning of last year.”
    The chamber’s total revenue for 2019 was just over $100,000, with their total expenditures just over $117,000, creating the WPCC’s first deficit in three years at close to $16,500.
    With the WPCC managing to run a slight surplus in the first two years since being reestablished, Mr Adams explained the chamber is not in any accumulated deficit situation just yet.
    “We are at 211 members now and that’s just early into 2020, so we’re excited to see what Tammy can do between now and the end of the year,” said Mr Adams.
    Echoing Ms Rix’s sentiments, president John Maynard said the WPCC wants to be an unified voice for the region.
    “We have a number of different population centres in West Prince, and I think this has been a problem for us as a region before, because we seldom speak with one voice,” he said. “What we need is an organization that can speak with a single voice that seeks to promote the entire region.”
    Mr Maynard said the West Prince region, more than ever before, is moving forward in its progress.
    “We’re recognizing the value of our products and the value of our labour and the talents that we have,” he said. “If we work together as one, I think the chamber can really be a part of this, than we can see this area achieve a level of prosperity, a level of social development, that quite frankly we’ve never seen before.”
    Four vacancies were filled on the board of directors after board members John Griffin, Sean Doyle and Zacharie Stewart stepped down. Dan MacDonald of MacDonald Insurance and Investments, Paulette Arsenault with Tignish Co-op - Tignish Members Relations, Norma Jean Griffin of WP Griffin Inc and Monique Horne of Cascumpec Bay Oyster Company filled those vacant seats and were welcomed to the board by acclamation. Secretary Carol Rybinski has moved into the position of vice president and board member Leah McGrath has stepped into the role as secretary.
    The members also voted on two resolutions - one moving the AGM from February to the last week of October to early November and the other changing the chamber’s year end from August to October.
    “What we’ve been finding is hosting the (Business Excellence Awards) gala and the AGM all in the month of February is a lot to prepare for in one month, so the board has been discussing separating the timing of these two events,” explained Ms Rybinski.
    Moving the AGM would also allow the chamber to create another fundraiser opportunity for the organization by hosting a President’s Supper in conjunction with the annual general meeting.
    Both resolutions were passed unanimously by the members.
    Melissa Heald