Email this articleE-mail this story  Discuss this articleWrite letter to editor  Discuss this articleOrder a classified ad

Reactivating the Chamber

Derek Neary
Northern News Services

Fort Simpson (Nov 26/04) - The Fort Simpson Chamber of Commerce is trying to regain some steam.

Members of the Chamber were called to an informal meeting on Nov. 9, the first time they had met in several months. Approximately 25 people showed up.

President Andrew Gaule said those present agreed members must get more involved. As well, several people felt strongly that the Chamber shouldn't be antagonistic or "sabre rattling," but should instead work with other groups for community betterment, according to Gaule.

The organization is a business lobby group, he explained, it has no control over the political processes in the Deh Cho that are delaying resource development.

"My opinion is that the Chamber has to get involved in the regulatory process associated with the pipeline review," Gaule said. "Those are the public decision-making processes."

He said the Chamber has a representative on the recently formed resource development impact group.

Duncan Canvin, the Chamber's past president, and Kirby Groat, vice-president, organized the Nov. 9 meeting. Canvin said the Chamber can afford to be more supportive of the First Nations to help ensure resource benefits flow to the Deh Cho. "I thought it was a very positive meeting," he said afterwards. "It ended on an upbeat note."

As of 2003, the Chamber of Commerce had close to 50 members, according to Gaule.

An annual general meeting has been set for Nov. 30. Gaule said he's not planning to run for president again.

"I think it's maybe time for someone with some fresh energy to take over."

He said that it's essential to hold regularly scheduled meetings rather than have the Chamber president making decisions without direction from the members.