2016 President Report

2016 The Year in Review

This time last year, our new Executive Director Richard Burelle and I were stepping onto new roles with the Chamber. The learning curve has been steep but with the helpful guidance from a diversified and experienced Board of Directors, we have completed a successful year of operations at the Antigonish Chamber of Commerce.

This report is intended to summarize our Chamber activities since my election as President at our AGM one year ago.

Financial:Our external accountant, Mark Sears and our treasurer, Andrew Bradshaw will provide more detail but we are pleased to report that we achieved our budget and recorded a modest operating surplus of $12,522 for the year ended December 31, 2016.

Membership: Our membership base has increased during the year from 162 to 173 at December 31, 2016, an increase of 11 members.

Office Relocation: In the spring of 2016, your Chamber gratefully accepted an invitation from Antigonish Farmers Mutual Insurance Company to relocate our business office from very small quarters on James Street to larger and more functional office space at 188 Main Street.

Advocacy: During the year, we met with our Premier, our MLA, our MP and municipal officials to discuss policies and priorities of importance to our business community. We have engaged with the Halifax Chamber of Commerce, the Strait Area Chamber of Commerce the Pictou County Chamber of Commerce and the Truro & Colchester Chamber of Commerce to speak with one voice on matters of provincial and regional concern.

Member Services: Many of our members take advantage of the Chambers competitive cost group benefit plan, low cost training opportunities and e-blast electronic messaging service.  Networking events range from our spring and fall dinners but also include our Breakfast and Business Connection events. Our annual June Golf Classic Tournament is growing in popularity with each passing year. Our fall Business Gala recognizes and celebrates the success of many of our local businesses.

Business Promotion: In December, your Chamber ran a series of ads in our local weekly newspaper promoting Antigonish as a good place to shop, eat and stay. We are presently working with a number of stakeholders all of whom wish to promote Antigonish as both a destination and a good place to live, work and invest. The level of collaboration between our municipal governments, institutions and the business community is quite encouraging.

Governance: During the year, the Registrar of Joint Stock Companies requested some minor changes to the grammar in our by-laws. These minor changes along with a few housekeeping changes are being presented for member approval at today’s AGM.

Unfinished Business: Much work was done behind the scenes to upgrade and modernize the Chamber web-site and we are quite pleased with the platform interface that has been developed and we look forward to a relaunch in 2017.

In closing, Richard and I extend a note of appreciation to our membership, Board of Directors and volunteer committee members for the support and guidance received during the year. We look forward to continuing success in 2017 as we learn from and build on lessons learned in 2016.

Respectfully submitted, this 16th day of March, 2017,

Dan Fougere
President – Antigonish Chamber of Commerce