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Campbell River business community’s ability to adjust has been inspirational

By Mary Ruth Snyder
Mary Ruth Snyder’s cumulative background suits her well in her role as executive director for the Campbell River Chamber of Commerce. Image supplied

By Mary Ruth Snyder

Campbell River Chamber of Commerce

This is definitely not the ‘new era’ our new board and I envisioned when we began this journey early last fall. A forestry strike, rail blockades and a global pandemic. It has been a whirlwind with the strength of a category 5 hurricane.

One positive aspect to which light has been shed is the immense strength of our networks. The BC Chamber of Commerce weaves together 120 provincial chambers and on their behalf, the CEO Val Litwin sits on the Premier’s Economic Recovery Task Force. The Canadian Chamber of Commerce combines 450 chambers coast to coast to coast and has joined forces with over 100 of Canada’s leading business and industry associations, including the Business Council of Canada, the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters and the Retail Council of Canada to form the Canadian Business Resilience Network which offers weekly webinars detailing the expansive resources and supports in place to assist businesses through this unprecedented global event. Closer to home we have the invaluable Vancouver Island Economic Alliance which has a comprehensive compilation of bitesize videos with conversations across the spectrum of resources and supports for businesses and organizations to help weather these unprecedented times. And now, the expansion of their Island Good campaign — now available for any Vancouver Island product from potatoes to airplane parts! In fact, four businesses from Campbell River are now part of Island Good. The City of Campbell River’s Economic Development will be sponsoring one year of Island Good licensing for up to 10 businesses — a tremendous opportunity for free marketing.

And both Innovation Island and ICE-T have pivoted their own programs to support businesses and organizations as well as a new grant program.

In addition to the Island Good licensing sponsorship, our city’s Economic Development Department has launched the Campbell River Streaming Forward Resiliency Program in partnership with Spring Activator. This is a FREE online program hosted in Thinkific that participants have access to for 12 months once they begin. Learners can jump around and go at your own pace throughout content, each lesson has a video delivering the core content, along with a worksheet and resource guide for each lesson. Learners will also have access to biweekly LIVE support sessions to ask questions and an invitation to Spring’s online community and curated resources.

The pandemic has absolutely thrown a planet-size wrench into our tourism season. The team at Destination Campbell River pivoted within the first week setting up and maintaining a database for businesses and organizations enabling a single location for the general public to seek out the latest about their favourite places to shop, grab a bevy or a meal. There is news coming as well regarding tourism province-wide so stay tuned.

We continue to be inspired by how quickly and successfully our business community has pivoted to adjust to our new reality.