Sooke Region Chamber of Commerce president Michael Nyikes

Sooke Region Chamber of Commerce president Michael Nyikes

2014: A year of change for the chamber

President of Sooke Region Chamber of Commerce speaks of plans

Just one year ago, the Sooke Region Chamber of Commerce was in danger of going under. It was at a point of near bankruptcy and extreme measures were required to bring it back into the black, says the current president.

“2013 was a year when we had to do a lot of damage control,” said 2014 chamber president Michael Myikes.

He said there was a lot of non-confidence from the business community and local government. He said the chamber was, at that point, unable to carry out its duties and the organization was “handicapped” and there was the prospect of shutting the doors after 65 years.

The extraordinary crisis was the catalyst for major restructuring and change.

The chamber began to make the changes which were necessary for its survival. New leadership and directors were appointed with Randy Welters stepping in as president. The chamber negotiated a new three-year Fee for Service Agreement with the District of Sooke enabling them to carry on business. The chamber developed a four-year strategic plan and broke down some barriers and build some bridges with the business community.

Positive things began to happen for the chamber after their reorganization and restructuring. The chamber began reporting to council, they hired a qualified staff person as office administrator and became more visible and active in the business by regaining their confidence.

Nyikes feels the chamber has a role to play in economic development, conference and convention management and promotion of the Sooke region.

Other key portfolios are a resident relocation plan, Newcomers Club, Shop Local Plan as well as a business education series.

“2014 will represent a whole lot of success,” stated Nyikes. “2014 represents a year where plans are put into action, 2013 was about planning.”

Nyikes wants the plan they have in place to be sustainable and able to move forward on its own.

Developing revenue streams is one of the plans Nyikes has for the chamber. This would involve gaining access to money from District of Sooke business licenses for economic development, and introducing and accessing a 2 per cent hotel tax.

“This would go towards promoting community whether through the chamber or SRTA (Sooke Region Tourism Association). I’m hopeful we’re going to be able to work much, much more closely with other organizations.”

He said many organizations are operating in silos and they should share resources, expertise, etc. as they are all moving toward the same goals anyway.

“We’re not winging it anymore, we have accountability and transparency. What we need now is support and that will come through our actions.”

He said support can come from the business community seeing the value of the chamber.

“I’m optimistic 2014 will see us receiving support from the business community and everyone else,” said Nyikes. “It’s an action year.”

Nyikes and his wife Susan moved to Sooke for the lifestyle and the climate three-and-a-half years ago. Having grown up in Calgary the Nyikes preferred the warmer weather and the West Coast provided just that. He said Sooke hit all of their check points.

“There’s something about Sooke,” he said. “Personally I hope to feel like I’m being purposeful in a community I love.”

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

Just Posted

A rockfall closes Finlayson Arm Road and West Shore Parkway on Friday (March 5) afternoon. (Twitter/BC Transportation)
UPDATE: One person in critical condition after Malahat rockfall

Section of Trans-Canada Highway was scheduled for intermittent closures today for rock scaling work

The Tsartlip First Nation was outraged after Green MLA Adam Olsen revealed on social media that the community had been experiencing a COVID-19 outbreak – a fact the First Nation had chosen to keep private to avoid racist backlash as experienced by the Cowichan Tribes when an outbreak was declared there in January. (Black Press Media file photo)
Tsartlip First Nation ‘outraged’ after Green MLA revealed COVID-19 outbreak

Chief shares concerns about racist backlash, MLA Adam Olsen apologizes

The B.C. Supreme Court ruled Feb. 26 that the estate of deceased Sooke man and Hells Angels prospect Michael Widner is to be divided between his wife and his secret spouse. (Black Press Media file photo)
Estate of deceased Hells Angels prospect from Sooke to be divided between wife and secret spouse

Michael Widner’s 2017 death left a number of unanswered questions

Sooke resident Nathan Hanson popped both his driver’s side tires on a pothole near a construction site on Sooke Road. Hanson said he was following a line of traffic and was just before the 17 Mile Pub when he drove over the pothole. (Photo contributed/Nathan Hanson)
Driver blows two tires on pothole near construction site on Sooke Road

Ministry of Transportation says keeping highways in good condition a priority

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C. on the COVID-19 situation. (B.C. government)
Dr. Bonnie Henry predicts a ‘post-pandemic world’ for B.C. this summer

‘Extending this second dose provides very high real-world protection to more people, sooner’

The Netflix logo on an iPhone. B.C. delayed imposing sales tax on digital services and sweetened carbonated beverages as part of its response to COVID-19. Those taxes take effect April 1, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Matt Rourke
B.C. applies 7% sales tax on streaming, vaping, sweet drinks April 1

Measures from 2020 budget were delayed due to COVID-19

A lawyer wears a face mask and gloves to curb the spread of COVID-19 while waiting to enter B.C. Supreme Court, in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, Aug. 28, 2020. British Columbia’s highest court has sided with the land owner in a dispute over public access to public land. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. high court finds in favour of large landowner in fight over access to pair of lakes

The Nicola Valley Fish and Game Club launched legal action after the cattle company blocked road and trail access

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau holds a press conference in Ottawa Friday, March 5, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Trudeau holds firm on premiers’ health-care funding demands, COVID-19 aid comes first

Premiers argue that the current amount doesn’t keep pace with yearly cost increases of about five per cent

Free Reformed Church is seen as people attend service, in Chilliwack, B.C., on Sunday, Feb. 21, 2021. Lawyers for the British Columbia government and the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms are back in B.C. Supreme Court today, squaring off over the legality of COVID-19 rules that prohibit in-person religious services. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. top doctor has power to restrict access to a place during health hazard: lawyer

Under B.C.’s Public Health Act, Jacqueline Hughes says, Henry can restrict or prevent entry to a place

A vial of some of the first 500,000 of the two million Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine doses that Canada has secured through a deal with the Serum Institute of India in partnership with Verity Pharma at a facility in Milton, Ont., on Wednesday, March 3, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Carlos Osorio - POOL
B.C. dentists and bus drivers want newly-approved Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine

BC Dental Association says dentists and their teams cannot treat patients remotely

Surrey Pretrial in Newton. (Photo: Tom Zytaruk)
B.C. transgender inmate to get human rights hearing after being held in mostly male jail

B.C. Human Rights Tribunal member Amber Prince on March 3 dismissed the pretrial’s application to have Makayla Sandve’s complaint dismissed

President of the BC Teacher’s Federation (BCTF) Teri Mooring is calling for teachers to be vaccinated for COVID-19 by summer. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Why it’s ‘urgent’ B.C. teachers get vaccinated from COVID-19 before summer

President Teri Mooring says not enough is being done to prevent virus transmission in schools

FILE - In this Jan. 18, 2014, file photo, endangered orcas from the J pod swim in Puget Sound west of Seattle, as seen from a federal research vessel that has been tracking the whales. A new study from federal researchers provides the most detailed look yet at what the Pacific Northwest's endangered orcas eat. Scientists with the NOAA Fisheries Northwest Fisheries Science Center spent years collecting fecal samples from the whales as well as scales from the fish they devoured. They say their data reaffirm the central importance of Chinook salmon to the whales. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File)
Study reinforces importance of Chinook to Pacific Northwest orcas

Data confirms how central the big salmon are to the orca’s diet year-round

Most Read