Although no one other than members and two invited guests were there to hear it, Snow Lake’s Chamber of Commerce set forth some ambitious plans that are sure to benefit the community and residents in the coming years.
Fresh off the success of their annual trade show and Chuck Davidson Golf Tournament, the chamber added a third achievement to 2018’s mix with the first ever locally written and produced tourism magazine. All three were noted in glowing terms during this annual general meeting.
Prior to the AGM getting formally underway, Community Futures Greenstone’s general manager Becky Cianflone and business development co-ordinator Krista Lemcke addressed the gathering of nine and apprised them of their services and continued commitment to the community. They offered to sponsor, partner and organize logistical support for any project the local chamber has planned for the current annum and points forward. The ladies also overviewed aspects of their business and community development services and the supports in place for current and prospective businesses, as well as member communities. Ms. Cianflone also outlined Greenstone’s upcoming (Oct. 29 in Flin Flon) Infusion Entrepreneurship Conference and urged the local chamber’s membership to take it in.
With formal business underway, the previous minutes, the treasurer’s and auditor’s reports were read and accepted. The chamber then discussed membership fees for the coming term. A motion to leave fees as they are was approved prior to moving on to a review of the past year’s activities.
President Gerard Lamontagne advised of the (previously noted) success of the chamber’s trade show, golf tourney and tourism magazine. He also gave an explanation of a recent switch of the chamber’s bimonthly luncheons to a twice-yearly format. “We’ve found that if we try to run two a year, rather than bimonthly, we have a lot more success, a stronger speaker, and you get three more people to show up,” noted Lamontagne with a laugh.
In relation to the chamber’s priority item for the past year – their tourism magazine – Lamontagne stated that they have already given about 200 copies to Travel Manitoba and that some will go to other Manitoba and Canadian chambers. They are also in the process of determining which country’s residents are the most frequent visitors to Northern Manitoba. Once that is established, a number of the magazines will be sent to chambers within those countries.
Talk quickly moved to new initiatives and Ms. Cianflone brought up a snowmobile project that Greenstone is involved in with two other northern Community Futures groups. The enterprise will promote snowmobile tourism in the north, with the ultimate goal of being able to travel by snowmobile from Swan River to Thompson. They are currently in the process of accessing the funds to undertake the venture. The proposal will include three phases: 1) Trail development, warmup shacks, and equipment/maintenance 2) Marketing, putting together tour packages for accommodations, meals, etc. 3) Events that will attract participants and spectators. Cianflone says that Travel Manitoba has committed to the initiative and what needs to be done now is prove up community support prior to accessing funds. A summit of all stakeholders will be held centrally in Snow Lake on Nov. 15. The local chamber was excited about the possibilities that the initiative offers and will ensure a strong Snow Lake presence. It is thought that there should be close to 60 people in attendance.
Following this, a discussion was held on the chamber’s sponsorship of the Oct. 9 mayoral forum. The format, time, venue and people involved were set before moving on to discussion of enhancing the relationship between the new council and the chamber. Members would like to see both groups work towards common interests and goals, with the betterment of the community and attraction of new residents being foremost in mind.
An in-depth discussion on signage for the community followed: placement, wording and construction were all hashed out and a final decision will take place at the next regular meeting. The group then moved on to the definite need for a campground within the town proper. There were suggestions on the location and size; a decision was made that the chamber will take this on as a priority project for the coming year. It was decided that they will bring the campground and signage, as well as an entire tourism strategy, forward for discussion with the new council, once they are sworn in. Greenstone offered their services as facilitators to move the strategy forward. On this item, Ms. Cianflone added that when the Northern Manitoba Tourism Strategy was put together, a gentleman named Kent Stewart who facilitated subsequently travelled the area by RV over a three-week period this past summer. “With visitor eyes, he said the opportunity within the drive to RV market for Snow Lake is huge,” said Cianflone. “And one thing you guys are missing out on is your beautiful golf course … RV’ers will come here to golf!”
The final item for discussion was the executive for the coming year. When the election process had played out, the positions and their holders were stated. They are president Gerard Lamontagne, vice-president Chris Samborski, secretary Chrissy Evans, treasurer Jill Arpin, directors Medhat Geloa, Garry Zamzow, Peter Purves, Dennis St Jean and Dave Mayer. Their next meeting will be held in the morning on Oct. 24.