Richard Froese

Businesses struggled during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Now it seems that chambers of commerce in small towns are facing a similar situation.

Many businesses closed for a while and some went out of business.

Now it’s starting to hit local business organizations.

Smoky River Regional Chamber of Commerce based in Falher is apparently closing shop because of a lack of committed businesses at meetings.

And it could also happen to the McLennan and District Chamber of Commerce.

A survey from both chambers was conducted with very low response and support.

It appears that times are changing for the role and value of chambers of commerce and they aren’t as vital to local businesses as it use to be.

Both chambers in small communities have struggled for many years to recruit new members and new vision.

Leadership in the Smoky River and McLennan chambers were all gung ho about a proposal to amalgamate the two chambers into a regional organization in a plan announced in early January 2021.

They said it would benefit the whole region that also includes Donnelly and Girouxville and the M.D. of Smoky River.

However, the proposal got very little buy-in from members and local businesses in both communities in a survey.

Town of McLennan council even questioned the concept earlier in the year.

McLennan wants to keep its own chamber.

Now it appears that the Smoky River regional will not have any chamber of commerce.

Chambers of commerce and boards of trade were created to promote and boost local businesses and serve as a voice from local business to municipal, provincial and federal governments.

This item is reprinted with permission from the High Prairie, AB, South Peace News. For the complete article, click HERE

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