Simpson set to serve second term as Langley chamber president
Kristine Simpson is the first president of the Greater Langley Chamber of Commerce to serve more than a single year, since the 1990s.
She was elected by acclamation to serve a second term at the chamber’s annual meeting Tuesday night. It is part of a broader effort to have members of the chamber executive serve two-year terms, instead of one year, and allow for more board continuity.
She has presided over a busy year, as the chamber has held monthly meetings with guest speakers, begun a new effort to reach out to business people under 40 and continued its advocacy work on many fronts, including pushing the province to take responsibility for having an east-west route from Abbotsford Airport to Highway 99 and calling for a return of the business vote in municipal elections.
One of its successes in the past year came with a federal announcement to build a new port of entry facility at the Aldergrove border crossing and enhance its role as a commercial port of entry. The federal government had been considering closing the port to commercial traffic, but the chamber was among the leaders in calling for more commercial activity at the port, which is on a direct route from Bellingham to the Gloucester industrial area. Simpson noted that the push for new facilities and enhanced commercial use of the port had taken nine years.
Simpson is a partner at BDO Canada and formerly served as treasurer of the chamber.
First vice-president is Eric Woodward of Statewood Properties, and second vice-president is Scott Johnston of Campbell, Burton and McMullan. Secretary-treasurer is Paul van Koll of Deloitte.
Community directors are Rick Barnett of Valley First Aid for North Langley; Kris Mohammed of Sun Life for South Langley; Mike Morrison of Envision Financial for Langley City and Scott Waddle of Precision Auto Service for Aldergrove.
Directors at large are Claude Choquette of Audacious Living; Brian Dougherty of Horizon Landscape Contractors; Tammy Rea of TD Canada Trust; Natasha Waddell of Alikova and Associates; Jane Fee of Kwantlen Polytechnic University and Sherri-Lee Woycik of Social Media Minder.
The chamber has been among the leaders in calling for small businesses to be exempted from having to comply with Multi Material B.C. (MMBC) directives, something the province agreed to in February. Businesses with one location (non-franchised); or that create less than one tonne of printed paper and packaging (PPP) or under $1 million in revenue are exempt from having to comply with MMBC regulations, which came into force on May 19.
MMBC managing director Allan Langdon was guest speaker at the meeting, and outlined how the private organization finances its activities with significant levies on producers of packaging and printed material. Its objective is to have producers finance the recycling system, and take it off the backs of municipal taxpayers.
The community newspaper industry is one of the groups disagreeing with MMBC, and Langley Advance publisher Ryan McAdams noted that MMBC wants to charge newspapers almost six times as much as a similar organization charges in Ontario — $200 per tonne as opposed to $35 per tonne.
The industry has refused to sign on with MMBC and is looking at setting up its own stewardship program, which it can do under provincial regulations changing responsibilities for recycling.
Former chamber president Angie Quaale asked Langdon why his organization is making it difficult for community newspapers, which are important to communities and to small businesses.
“I don’t have a dispute with community newspapers,” he said. “At some point, they have to take ownership of their own decisions.”
Langdon said Langley City has signed on with MMBC, and the organization will run its recycling program as of Jan. 1, 2015. Recyclables will be picked up by current contractor Emterra. Langley Township has not signed on with MMBC, although he is hopeful it will do so in the future.
The goal of MMBC is to see that 75 per cent of material is recycled, Langdon said, with producers responsible for the costs of doing so.