The Duncan Cowichan Chamber of Commerce held a virtual AGM this year due to the health pandemic. Pictured are the chamber’s executive director Sonja Nagel (left) and president Julie Scurr. (File photo)

The Duncan Cowichan Chamber of Commerce held a virtual AGM this year due to the health pandemic. Pictured are the chamber’s executive director Sonja Nagel (left) and president Julie Scurr. (File photo)

Duncan Cowichan Chamber of Commerce holds AGM

Three new members added to the board

Six new and returning directors will be members of the board at the Duncan Cowichan Chamber of Commerce after its recent AGM.

Island Savings’ Jason Farrugia, Pemberton Holmes’ Renee Russell and Tammy Gurski, from Valley Carpet One Floor & Home, are the new directors, while Panago Pizza’s Matthew Huortari, KBL Law Corporation’s Karen Bresler, and Pamela Stover, from PD Stover Professional Corporation, are the returning incumbent directors.

All six directors were acclaimed at the meeting, which was hosted virtually on Zoom on Nov. 24

Chamber president Julie Scurr reported at the AGM on how the chamber pivoted during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, providing the local business community with daily updates on financial support programs and resources as they rolled out.

A report from the AGM said the chamber has also continued to be a strong and effective voice on behalf of both business and community interests.

This year, the chamber supported organizations like the Raptors Centre and the Shawnigan Lake Museum, among others, for access to relief funds, the CVRD for funds to increase digital literacy in the arts community, and for Community Futures to target funds for a marketing campaign to support the retail and service sector, and restaurant and tourism businesses.

The chamber’s advocacy efforts remain extensive, including support of a policy on restoring rail on Vancouver Island, support for an accommodation business that was having bylaw issues with the CVRD, and participation in efforts to reduce the federal excise tax impact on distilleries.

The chamber also spoke out loudly for its member businesses against a North Cowichan proposed motion regarding a pause on development in advance of a new OCP.

Scurr reiterated that the chamber is in a unique position as the business community’s leader in Cowichan.

“The focus for the chamber over the next year will be creating a road map to recovery, listening to and advocating for businesses, and leveraging the chamber network to ensure those needs are met,” she said.

Chamber treasurer Leah Hudson presented the financial situation at the AGM, noting how difficult it has been this year with little revenue due to cancelled events and decreased retail sales at the Cowichan Regional Visitor Centre due to the pandemic, as well as a decrease in municipal grant revenue for the visitor centre.

Memberships, however, have remained stable, which Hudson noted is a testament to the value of membership.

She said the chamber is in a positive situation as a result of having access to the Canadian Emergency Wage Subsidy.

The chamber’s executive director Sonja Nagel spoke to how quickly the Cowichan Regional Visitor Centre adapted with the way they could deliver visitor services over the last eight months, noting that the CRVC was one of the first centres to partially reopen, and remain open, serving locals, islanders and mainlanders.

“The chamber also worked tirelessly for members since March, researching and finding solutions for businesses and organizations to help them during the crisis,” said Nagel.

“The Chamber has welcomed many new members during this pandemic who see the value of belonging to this powerful chamber network.”

Nagel also added that there are tentative plans to host the Black Tie Awards in a live, limited-capacity event in April, 2021.

The biennial Black Tie Awards, postponed earlier this year, celebrates excellence in business and volunteerism in Cowichan.

The most prevalent theme of the chamber’s AGM, perhaps, was the steadfast commitment and call to support local.

“Local businesses are the backbone of the Cowichan Valley. They support our kids’ sports teams, they donate to local charities, they support other local businesses and they are invested in our communities,” said Scurr.

“Now, more than ever, these businesses need your support because our communities are depending on it. We are all in this together.”


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Dog owners, from left, Marlyn Briggs with Nayla, Marjory Sutherland with Effie and Mick, and Christina Godbolt with Conon walk their pets frequently at the Chemainus Ball Park but are growing increasingly concerned about drugs being found discarded in the area. (Photo by Don Bodger)
Puppy requires emergency treatment 3 times after ingesting drugs from Chemainus parks

Dog owners walking in Chemainus parks urged to take caution

The Cowichan Valley School District is holding an online session to discuss the future of Koksilah Elementary School, closed since 2013. (File photo)
What’s the future of the old Koksilah Elementary School?

The district is hoping to collect feedback on options for the future of the school.

Jim Neiser of Neiser Sales, Service & Rentals Ltd. died suddenly on Jan. 4. after suffering an apparent cardiac event at work. (Submitted photo)
Prominent Lake Cowichan businessman Jim Neiser dead at 63

Lake Cowichan Mayor Bob Day said the long-time laker will be missed.

The Judy Hill Gallery took home top prize for its window display during the Christmas season from the Downtown Duncan BIA. (Submitted photo)
Business notes: Judy Hill Gallery wins festive window display contest

A look at what’s going on in the Cowichan business community

Environment Canada is forecasting snow for the east Vancouver Island region the weekend of Jan. 23. (Black Press file)
Up to 15 cm of snow forecast for Duncan area this weekend

Snow to begin Saturday night, according to Environment Canada

Toronto Public Health nurse Lalaine Agarin sets up for mass vaccination clinic in Toronto, Jan. 17, 2021. B.C. is set to to begin its large-scale immunization program for the general public starting in April. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
B.C.’s COVID-19 mass vaccinations expected to start in April

Clinics to immunize four million people by September

Surrey provincial court. (File photo: Tom Zytaruk)
New COVID-19 protocols set for provincial courthouses

The new rules were issued on Jan. 21, and took effect immediately

Police in Vancouver looking for male suspect who allegedly spat and attacked a store manager for not wearing a mask, at 7-Eleven near Alma Street and West 10th Avenue just before noon on Dec. 17, 2020. (Vancouver police handout)
VIDEO: Man spits on 7-Eleven manager over mask rule, sparking Vancouver police probe

‘Unfortunately, the store manager sustained a cut to his head during the assault’

The Vancouver-based SAR team successfully rescued two lost snowshoers off of the west side of Tim Jones Peak in the early morning of Monday, Jan. 19. (North Shore Rescue photo)
B.C.’s busiest SAR team raises alarm after 2021 begins with fatality, multiple rescues

‘People beyond ski resort areas of Seymour, Grouse, and Cypress go without cell reception,’ SAR warns

Emergency crews were called to a semi-truck crash along the Trans-Canada Highway at Oyster Sto’Lo Road on Friday, Jan. 22. (Cole Schisler/Black Press)
Semi truck crashes off the side of the highway in Ladysmith

Driver taken to hospital as precaution after single-vehicle crash Friday

Police are searching for an alleged sex offender, Nicole Edwards, who they say has not returned to her Vancouver halfway house. (Police handout)
Police hunt for woman charged in ‘horrific’ assault who failed to return to Surrey halfway house

Call 911 immediately if you see alleged sex offender Nicole Edwards, police say

A screenshot from a local Instagram account video. The account appeared to be frequented by Mission students, and showed violent videos of students assaulting and bullying other students.
Parents, former students describe ‘culture of bullying’ in Mission school district

Nearly two dozen voices come forward speaking of abuse haunting the hallways in Mission, B.C.

Joe Biden, then the U.S. vice-president, and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau take their seats at the start of the First Ministers and National Indigenous Leaders meeting in Ottawa, Friday, Dec. 9, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau, Biden to talk today as death of Keystone XL reverberates in Canada

President Joe Biden opposed the Keystone XL expansion as vice-president under Barack Obama

Prince Edward Island’s provincial flag flies on a flag pole in Ottawa, Friday July 3, 2020. A lozenge plant in Prince Edward Island has laid off 30 workers, citing an “almost non-existent” cold and cough season amid COVID-19 restrictions. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
‘Almost non-existent’ cold and cough season: P.E.I. lozenge plant lays off 30 workers

The apparent drop in winter colds across the country seems to have weakened demand for medicine and natural remedies

Most Read