For several reasons, we have decided not to merge at this time. Primarily, we feel that only Pugwash has similarities with Parrsboro and secondly, there is no backing out once a go-ahead has started. Participants at the discussion table said that a casual sharing of ideas, problems and solutions has not worked in the past. We wonder if a casual relationship did not work, just how would a formalized relationship work.
Here is an analysis of the concept:
Joining Forces BoT / Chambers
Dear Board of Trade Members,
The Parrsboro and District Board of Trade held an information session to hear recommendations from the executive on the future of the organization. Although poorly attended, the discussion was productive. I have attached below the recommendations as presented at the meeting. The highlights of the discussion appear below:
The problem stems from the small size of the Board and the corresponding small budget. Because of very limited resources, the work falls on the shoulders of volunteers exclusively. While we have had a few people commit to the BOT’s work this year, our volunteer base is shrinking quickly. That has put enormous pressure on me and our executive just to get the basic day-to-day work of the Board of Trade done. I personally have incurred a lot of cost and spent an inordinate amount of time on BOT work in the past 6 months since becoming president, but feel proud that we have accomplished some things despite this. We produced an excellent Tourism map just in time for the summer and distributed all 5000 copies. We held a very successful all-candidates debate in the spring, leading up to the provincial election, and had a standing-room-only crowd. After a rainy start, we successfully hosted Old Fashioned Saturday night again this year, but had to cancel the Prospectors Street Party due to the hurricane brushing by on Gemshow weekend. The discussion also included the question of the upcoming Christmas Tree Lighting and Santa Claus Parade commitments (yes, it’s getting to that time of year!). Everyone agreed that these activities would proceed this year as planned and that the financial resources required are available.
The success of these activities this year is proof that our work is important and valued by the community at large. This is an important consideration in making a decision about our future.
My short time as president has been a rewarding experience for me, and I hope that I you all have benefitted in some way from the activities of the Board of Trade this year. That said, I and the executive are all very busy with a number of commitments outside the Board of Trade as well, not the least of which for me includes operating a small family business that requires frequent travel and a lot of attention. For these reasons and others, the executive will not continue to carry such a heavy workload from the Board of Trade. This precipitated our discussion on its future this Tuesday. We are at a turning point in our 118 year history with a shrinking volunteer base and declining membership, and it is my opinion that we cannot continue to operate based solely on volunteer power. Hiring a part time administrative assistant to carry out the day-to-day work of the Board of Trade would be very helpful and ensure that the work gets done, but the reality of our financial resources will not allow this. So, the following three options have been offered for your consideration:
1. Dissolve the Board of Trade completely,
2. Merge with other Chambers of Commerce in Cumberland County, or
3. Elect a new executive that is able to completely commit to the ongoing work of the Board of Trade and continue on as we have in the past.
Discussion at Tuesday’s information session centred around option 2 as being the best outcome for Parrsboro. There is a huge advantage in creating a County-wide Chamber of Commerce that would serve all our interests effectively and, hopefully, enjoy adequate resources to accomplish the important initiatives that affect all our businesses. I fully support this idea and would like to recommend it as the best option to represent business in the Parrsboro Shore area.
Call to Vote:
At 7:00 p.m. on Monday, November 27, 2017, the Board of Trade will hold a general meeting (location within Parrsboro to be announced) to vote on the future of our organization. This is a very important meeting as it will determine our future decisively, even our existence. Please plan to attend and to vote thoughtfully on one of the three recommendations discussed this past Tuesday. Because of the confusion around invoicing for membership this year, the meeting will begin with a resolution to grant anyone who has had a membership in good standing this year or in 2016 voting privileges. This will be followed by the vote on the recommendations presented below without further debate. So if you haven’t paid you dues yet this year, but had last year, please come out to vote on the 27th.
Thank you all for your support of the Parrsboro and District Board of Trade. Let’s continue to work hard for the businesses of the Parrsboro Shore!
The following press release is circulated to NS Media in reaction to the Provincial Budget tabled April 27
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
APRIL 27, 2017
Atlantic Chamber of Commerce supports the direction taken in 2017-18 Nova Scotia Budget
The Atlantic Chamber of Commerce (ACC) is encouraged by the direction demonstrated in today's provincial budget in terms of responsible fiscal management and investment in trade-enabling infrastructure. The Nova Scotia government is also to be congratulated on matching expenditures and anticipated revenues under conditions of slow economic growth.
"The business community in Nova Scotia is encouraged by the government's commitment to fiscal responsibility in tabling consecutive balanced budgets" said Terry Malley, Chair of the ACC. "Maintaining this balance will require the province to focus creating conditions for job growth and business expansion as Nova Scotia continues to be among the most heavily taxed provinces in the country."
"This year's budget is good for the economy and good for Nova Scotians. We are pleased that the government has listened to many of our budget recommendations, most notably by raising the small business tax threshold" said Valerie Roy, CEO of the ACC. "This overdue change will provide a significant boost to businesses that are facing increased costs in the form of a price on carbon and increases in Canada Pension Plan premiums."
In its pre-budget submission to the Minister of Finance, the ACC called for renewed measures to support economic growth, creation of efficiencies within government, population and workforce renewal, and spending restraint. Today's budget document includes positive proposals to achieve prosperity such as:
Recent surveys of ACC members in Nova Scotia highlight a need for improving economic development support in communities across the province. The success rate of the Regional Enterprise Networks has been mixed. After several years of slow progress the ACC encourages the government to review the effectiveness of the REN program and at a minimum take steps to expand opportunities for business interests to be represented in local economic planning.
Rural Nova Scotians will be pleased to see an increased allocation to support enhanced rural internet service, and eagerly await details of a government's strategy for assisting communities to ensure access to high speed broadband services.
The increase in the basic personal exemption rather than the minimum wage is seen as a more productive approach to ensuring a living wage. The ACC encourages the government to extend this positive measure and implement indexing for all tax credits and pursue a "systematic and structural plan" for tax reform as promised in the 2015-16 budget.
The Atlantic Chamber of Commerce recognizes that the Nova Scotia government has achieved a very unique status in having presented consecutive surplus budgets. It will require significant effort to protect this surplus position and urges the government to maintain its focus on enhancing the environment for business investment and attraction.
The Strong, Credible, Unified Voice of Business
The Atlantic Chamber of Commerce Inc. serves as a federation of 95 local chambers of commerce and boards of trade throughout Atlantic Canada, representing more than 16,000 businesses and professional people. The Nova Scotia membership of ACC includes 28 chambers of commerce and boards of trade.
With the support and united strength of the chamber network, ACC continuously searches for opportunities to foster a prosperous, self-reliant and sustainable Atlantic Canada.
Vice President, Policy
Atlantic Chamber of Commerce