Chamber fills board positions, looks forward to the year’s events

Spring trade show, Riverboat Daze the big ones

Gord Fortin
Lakeside Leader

The Slave Lake and District Chamber of Commerce annual general meeting proved to be productive as six board positions were filled.

The chamber meeting took place on Feb. 20 at the Medallion Room in the Slave Lake Inn and Conference Centre.

Six positions on the chamber’s board of directors were filled. Josh Friesen will be the new vice-president, Diane Smith will be the treasurer and Erin Allarie, Karen Drake, Serena Green and Melane LeBlanc accepted positions on the board.

Chamber president Francesca Giroux started off by presenting the new executive administrator Laurie Hodge, who started in January.

Giroux would next go through some of the upcoming chamber events. She said the business awards gala has been well received. The ticket sales are up this year. The chamber has taken feedback, heard last year, and used it to improve this year’s event.

Feedback referenced was that the gala ran long last year. The chamber made efforts to tighten it up. Giroux added that the chamber will be looking to do reports after events in the future.

Next on the calendar is the trade show. This has been re-branded this year with an outdoor and adventure theme. This follows the lead of High Prairie’s trade show.

“We’re trying to bring a theme into it,” Giroux said.

The hope is that enough vendors will be interested that both arenas at the MRC as well as the lobby and the field house will all be full. Giroux reported that so far the chamber has enough vendors to fill one arena.

The biggest event for the chamber will be the River Boat Daze on July 6 to 8 and the block party on July 6. Giroux hopes to have more time to plan these events and get more input from the public on what they want to see. She reported that country music performer Gord Bamford’s backup band will be performing at the event and that should be exciting.

Other items for this event include fireworks on July 6, for which the chamber is in need of assistance, as well as a midway. West Coast Amusements will be coming to town and setting up near Walmart.

When it comes to the chamber’s finances, Giroux reported that the chamber finished 2017 with a larger deficit than in 2016. The deficit at the end of 2017 is $18,192. A year before it was $445.

An audit was done in the previous year and Giroux was ready to present it. The chamber has been working to reduce cost, fix inefficiencies and keep their books up to date. So far they have downsized their phone and Internet packages. The office has been reorganized. Instead of operating on a paper base, the chamber has moved to a Cloud-based system.

Part of the reason the expenditures went over and above revenue is that the chamber had to spend $3,500 on legal fees. Giroux did not go into detail of what these legal fees were.

Town of Slave Lake CAO Brian Vance asked how long the chamber can expect to run at a deficit. Giroux said there has been a deficit for as long as she can remember. That said, it is not her goal to keep operating at a deficit. She added that the chamber is looking for other sources of revenue and they have approached the M.D. of Lesser Slave River on this matter.

Mayor Tyler Warman said that 2017 was a good year and he sees value in the chamber. He added that he is excited to see what they have planned for 2018.

“You guys are doing a great job,” he said.

Warman said the town should be able to make a funding announcement for the chamber sometime in March. He said he very much doubts that there would be a decrease.

Slave Lake and District Chamber of Commerce president Francesca Giroux, left, presents the 2017 year-end financial reports as well as a preview of several upcoming chamber events. This discussion took place during the chamber’s annual general meeting on Feb. 20 at the Medallion Room in the Slave Lake Inn and Conference Centre.

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