On Monday, March 2 the Sparwood Chamber of Commerce hosted their Annual General Meeting (AGM), inviting members of the Sparwood and Elk Valley communities.
Along with Member of Parliament (MP) David Wilks, Sparwood Mayor Cal McDougall provided attendees with an annual update on last year’s community progress. The luncheon meeting was also an opportunity for the chamber to report on their own success.
“The chamber had a very good, busy and successful 2014,” Sparwood Chamber of Commerce Manager Norma McDougall said, adding that over the past year the chamber brought in 35 new members, bringing their total membership to 106. “We’re hoping to finish off the year with 130 members.”
In terms of tourism, McDougall said the chamber saw over 65,000 visitors come through its doors in 2014, and the Sparwood Chamber of Commerce continues to reach out to locals through their Facebook page and website, both of which are new to 2014.
“We’re very involved on Facebook and our website, which is another great tool for you to advertise your business,” said McDougall who also mentioned some successful events the chamber hosted last year, including Mining Week, which brought eight full bus tours to the Sparwood and Elkford mine sites.
Alongside the chamber’s success in Sparwood in 2014, Mayor McDougall spoke about council’s 2014 and early 2015 achievements, including the business retention and expansion survey, in which local business were surveyed and interviewed.
“That study is completed in its draft form and we’ll be addressing it, it will be made public very soon,” Mayor McDougall said.
The meeting was also an opportunity for the mayor to thank the community for their support in the 2014 District of Sparwood municipal election.
“I don’t think I’ve had a public opportunity to thank Sparwood for allowing me to come back and do what I love to do as mayor,” said Mayor McDougall. “I’d like to thank them for considering seniors at this position,” he joked.
He went on to add that in a small community like Sparwood, it’s nice to feel such a great sense of community, even when it comes to communicating with your local MLA and MP.
“It’s nice to be able to know that you can pick up the phone and call your MLA at any time and know that they know who you are, they know your community and you’ll be able to talk to them. MP David Wilks is the same,” he said.
Wilks was in attendance to thank the community for their ongoing support and to bring forward some information from Ottawa parliament.
Wilks addressed The New Building Canada Plan, aimed at bringing $53 billion to the nation’s infrastructure over the next 10 years. He also spoke about upgrades to the Trans-Canada Highway and the shooting that took place in the House of Commons on October 22, 2014.
“What it has done is it’s made us as parliamentarians and senators look at security at that place and, although it’s known as the people’s house, we’ve really had to tighten up security there,” said Wilks.
Wilks also addressed some of the recent Supreme Court rulings, including Canada v. Carter — the right to die legislation.
“It’s a very moral issue and it’s a very heartfelt issue for every Canadian,” Wilks said. “I think it’s a real slippery slope.”