It’s a given that the first responsibility for any Chamber of Commerce is to provide support for its business members. A variety of programs help them to succeed and prosper including training opportunities and peer support – and with the chamber acting as a champion on their behalf in dealing with various levels of government.
At the same time the chamber recognizes the responsibility that comes with being a high profile agency in the community, which means working with local government, and other agencies to enrich the community at large as a desirable place to live, to work, to learn and to play for all citizens.
Fulfilling this latter responsibility, the Sooke Region Chamber of Commerce (SRCC)board continues to initiate and promote a wider range of services and projects in addition to its member-based services.
• 2014 saw the creation of a Sooke Newcomers Club, which now boasts over 70 registered members, introducing all of these new neighbours to the great range of services and advantages in the region along with opportunities to serve as volunteers to various community agencies. These new citizens collectively spend millions on acquiring Sooke real estate and hundreds of thousands on renovations. Few if any members of the club are members of the chamber.
• In the past year the chamber provided the services of two of our executive members who are both professional architects, to assist the District of Sooke council in the development of a Downtown Advisory Committee to set new standards for building design to create a more liveable downtown.
• The chamber has developed the ‘Better Buy Sooke’ program, which encourages all consumers to make Sooke business and service their first choice in buying decisions. Much more will be done with this portfolio in the coming year.
• In April the chamber will host the annual recognition dinner and gala, attended by over 100 Sooke citizens, some of whom will receive awards resulting from the community’s votes for outstanding leadership in a variety of fields. The gala and awards night takes place on Saturday, April 11 at the Prestige.
• The chamber continues to work with the Economic Development Committee to identify and act upon various projects that will bring greater economic prosperity through job creation. Again, membership in the SRCC is not a requirement for the investors and developers who work on these plans.
The chamber sees all these and a number of other projects as part of its broader community responsibilities over and above member services, working as a partner with the district to build a better Sooke.