Chamber President Brent Clancy updates members on how the chamber did in 2019, as Katherine Worsley looks on. (Warren Goulding/Gazette)

Chamber President Brent Clancy updates members on how the chamber did in 2019, as Katherine Worsley looks on. (Warren Goulding/Gazette)

Cowichan Lake Chamber upbeat, despite susidizing Visitor Centre operations

Clancy said he had hoped to see the Chamber website upgraded

Brent Clancy was upbeat as he looked back on a year that saw more visitors to the area and continuing financial challenges for the Cowichan Lake District Chamber of Commerce.

Clancy, owner of Vancouver Island Labour Services, is winding up a two-year term as president of the business organization and has indicated he would like to continue in that role.

“The Chamber is a voice for business and to have more voices speaking out is powerful,” he suggested.

“It’s important to counteract hidden money and hidden forces,” Clancy told members attending the annual general meeting on March 5.

On the operations front, Clancy said the Chamber played a role in the positive things that are happening in the region.

“Lots has been happening in our community in the last few years and we are much more on the map,” he said.

Clancy pointed to the Visitor Centre and the Mobile Unit as vehicles that are getting the message out to the world that the Lake Cowichan region is a great place to visit.

“The Mobile Visitor Unit is a great asset, going to local events and putting in a fantastic plug for the area.”

Clancy said he had hoped to see the Chamber website upgraded last year but an overhaul is now planned for the coming year.

“Moving forward, the priority is getting our finances in order and providing more value for our members.”

As is the case with most Chambers of Commerce, Cowichan Lake District Chamber of Commerce struggles with the burden of operating a Visitor Information Centre.

On the Chamber side alone, the organization managed to record a modest surplus but the Visitor Centre put the Chamber into the red again in 2019.

“We had an extra $5,000 in grants for student wages and (retail) sales were up in the Visitor Centre and Mobile Unit, which helped to subsidize the Visitor Centre operating costs,” Clancy reported.

However, it wasn’t enough to cover the increasing expenses of operating the Centre.

“It’s not fair for the Chamber to be subsidizing the Visitor Centre,” Clancy said. “I’m not saying that we don’t get value out of that but it has cost us thousands of dollars over the last five years.”

The five-year contract the Chamber has to operate the Visitor Centre is in its last year and Clancy says discussions with the Town of Lake Cowichan will be held in an effort to work out a more equitable formula.

Looking forward to 2020’s operations, Clancy says the Chamber is budgeting for a $4,800 loss on the Visitor Centre side, something that is not sustainable in the long-term.

“The only thing we could do to run a balanced budget is to cut youth wages,” Clancy told the AGM, adding the Chamber board is reluctant to do that.

“They get great value out of working there and we get great value. So the Chamber board decided we get greater value and the community gets value so we will live with it.

“But it limits what we can do for our businesses.”

Business

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

Just Posted

The old Yount school in Youbou has stood empty for years, but now a group has plans to turn it into a mixed-use property with affordable housing and tourist services. (Submitted)
Group sets sights on tranforming old Yount school property in Youbou

School District 79 has already commenced a process to sell the school through a formal proposal call

North Cowicha to extend the time lines of its official community plan update. (File photo)
North Cowichan to extend time line of OCP review

Municipality also adds $55,000 to OCP budget

Cowichan Capitals’ Logan Rands digs for the puck along the boards in the Alberni Valley Bulldogs’ zone midway through the third period of their BC Hockey League game at the Alberni Valley Multiplex on Saturday, April 10, 2021. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)
Cowichan Capitals pick up first two wins of BCHL season

Brockman, Moffatt both up to four goals on the year

A nearly four-hour standoff at an apartment complex on Cowichan Lake Road in Duncan ended peacefully on Wednesday, April 14. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Standoff at Duncan apartment ends peacefully

Police surround building as homeowner held in apartment by adult son

B.C. Centre for Disease Control maps showing new COVID-19 cases by local health area for the week of April 4-10. (BCCDC image)
Parksville-Qualicum passes Nanaimo in new COVID-19 cases

Greater Victoria had more new cases than any other Island area: B.C. Centre for Disease Control

A woman wears a protective face covering to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 as she walks past the emergency entrance of Vancouver General Hospital in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Top doctor warns B.C.’s daily cases could reach 3,000 as COVID hospitalizations surge

There are more than 400 people in hospital, with 125 of them in ICU

The plane blasted through an airport fence and down a hill, before stopping before a cement barrier on Highway 5A, right in front of a school bus. Photo submitted.
Student pilot crashes plane onto Highway 5A almost hitting school bus

Aircraft hit pavement right in front of school bus

Eight-year-old Piper and her family were raising money to help Guinevere, the bearded dragon, get a gynecological surgery. Sadly, the reptile didn’t survive the procedure. (Jackee Sullivan/Special to Langley Advance Times)
Lizard fails to survive surgery, GoFundMe dollars help Langley family offset medical bills

Guinevere, a pet bearded dragon, underwent an ovariectomy on Tuesday

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A driver stopped by Saanich police following a road rage incident on April 15 was found to be impaired, in violation of a license restriction and in a damaged vehicle. They received a 90-day driving prohibition and a 30-day vehicle impound. (Saanich Police Traffic Safety Unit/Twitter)
Road rager fails breathalyzer on busy B.C. highway in vehicle he shouldn’t be driving

Saanich police say man was operating vehicle without required ignition lock

The family of Iris McNeil, shown here with members of her family, has launched a petition to deny parole for the man who murdered McNeil in 1997. (Family photo)
Family fights killer’s release from Vancouver Island prison

Shortreed serving an indeterminate sentence at William Head Institution

B.C. Premier John Horgan wears a protective face mask to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. Premier John Horgan booked to get AstraZeneca shot Friday

‘Let’s show all British Columbians that the best vaccine is the one that’s available to you now,’ he said

Doses of the Moderna COVID‑19 vaccine in a freezer trailer, to be transported to Canada during the COVID-19 pandemic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Pfizer to increase vaccine deliveries in Canada as Moderna supply slashed

Moderna plans to ship 650,000 doses of its vaccine to Canada by the end of the month, instead of the expected 1.2 million

Dr. Bonnie Henry speaks about the province’s COVID-19 vaccine plans during a news conference at the legislature in Victoria. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
P.1 variant likely highest in B.C. due to more testing for it: Dr. Henry

Overall, just under 60% of new daily cases in the province involve variants

Most Read