By Stephanie Seaver
The North Dundas Chamber of Commerce held their Annual General Meeting on May 26, virtually.
Present was Eric Duncan, MP for Stormont, Dundas and South Glengarry, who mentioned that there has been good residential growth in the North Dundas area as of late, despite the pandemic. He also pointed out that businesses have been dealing with many issues surrounding the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), such as getting through the phone lines.
If any business owners are having difficulties getting through to CRA to resolve issues, they are encouraged to call Eric’s office to see how they can assist.
The financial report was presented to the members. The report noted that the total revenue for the Chamber of Commerce was $12,395, including $820 in membership fees, and total expenses were more than $14,000, leaving the Chamber with a total deficit of $2080.
Membership has been affected by COVID-19. In 2018, the Chamber of Commerce had 105 members. In 2019, the Chamber had 85 members. In 2020-2021 they are down to 60 members. This is partly due to the pandemic, but also the fact that North Dundas was not able to host the Business Expo, which in previous years has been very successful. There are talks of doing a membership drive in the near future. As well, they are looking at moving the Business Expo online, which would highlight local businesses in the area.
Nominations for new members to the Board of Directors included: Jen Feeny, Trevor Watters, Loralee Carruthers, Linda Vogel, and Dan Pettigrew. A motion was passed to accept all members to the Board.
The Chamber created a Business Health Check to check in and see how local businesses were fairing during COVID-19. It was determined that businesses saw an increase of 27% in their customer base. 64% of businesses did not temporarily close their business, but rather may have reduced their hours and/or staffing.
A provincial antigen screening program was also launched. This is rapid testing to keep workplaces as safe as possible as they wait for vaccinations to roll out. It proactively identifies cases of COVID-19 that may have otherwise been missed. Overall, the number of positive cases detected was low relative to the number of tests performed.
As part of the official agenda, the Chamber elected its executive officers. Nanda Wubs Huizenga was elected as President; Cheryl Beasley as Vice-president; Linda Vogel as Treasurer; and Jen Feeny was elected Secretary.
Guest speaker, Lara Welman from the Biz Studio offered the members a presentation entitled Talking Strategies for Business Planning 2021.