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.”

Just Posted

The shores will not rock in 2019

Atomique Productions announce Rock the Shores festival will not return in 2019, future is uncertain

Video shows logging operation on disputed Saturna Island land

Tsawout First Nation members opposed to logging on reserve land

Family still searching for missing Langford man two weeks after disappearance

Family hopeful he is alive, offering $10,000 reward

Victoria police concerned about missing man’s well-being

Delmer was reported missing on March 19

Fracking, economy, climate at centre of Green Party town hall in Metchosin

Green Party leader Elizabeth May and local candidate David Merner take questions from community

Sparks fly as SUV speeds down wrong side of Highway 1 trying to flee RCMP

Captured on video, the vehicle headed westbound against oncoming traffic before crashing

Calgary captain has 3 points as Flames torch Canucks 3-1

Giordano leads way as Alberta side cracks 100-point plateau

Fire crews battle large blaze at Courtenay hostel

Courtenay Fire Chief Don Bardonnex said nobody was injured

1,300 cruise ship passengers rescued by helicopter amid storm off Norway’s coast

Rescue teams with helicopters and boats were sent to evacuate the cruise ship under extremely difficult circumstances

B.C. university to offer first graduate program on mindfulness in Canada

University of the Fraser Valley says the mostly-online program focuses on self-care and well being

Province announces $18.6 million for B.C. Search and Rescue

The funding, spread over three years, to pay for operations, equipment, and training

Late-season wave of the flu makes its round in B.C.

BC Centre for Disease Control reported 50 per cent jump in flu cases in first weeks of March

Tofino’s housing crisis causing some to seek shelter at the local hospital

Tofino’s housing crisis is pushing the town’s ‘hidden homeless’ population into the forefront.

Sentencing judge in Broncos crash calls for carnage on highways to end

Judge Inez Cardinal sentenced Jaskirat Singh Sidhu to eight years

Most Read