Focus on the long term

Putting out fires is all very well, but take a moment to look beyond that

The Qualicum Beach Chamber of Commerce is pleased to have this opportunity to better communicate our role.

Through this new series of articles chamber staff and board members will share their positions and commitment to an approach that fosters community building.

We believe in the fundamental philosophy that a strong community creates and supports a strong local economy.

In order for the chamber to be successful we believe three things must happen.

First, we must communicate our role so that you can better understand our commitment and capacity to support and address community building needs.

Secondly, we will engage key stakeholders and actively listen to their positions so that we can truly support the community’s agenda as a whole.

And lastly, we will strive to strengthen relationships with these key stakeholders, including community groups, local and regional governments, as we recognize each groups abilities and view limitations as opportunities for future collaboration.

To gain a better understanding of the chamber’s role and commitment, please take a few minutes to review our guiding values and approaches to community building.

This approach is not new, it is however something that we believe is appropriate for the community and includes the following principles:

Respond to the community’s agenda based on an inclusive strategic plan, as opposed to any one specific groups agenda.

Emphasize creating an environment in which business can last, as opposed to starting businesses alone.

Next, emphasize long term payoffs.

This means sustained community well-being, as opposed to short term payoffs such as temporary jobs and income.

Development is the job of community leadership (they set vision, guidelines, policy – others implement), as opposed to a single Economic Development Officer;

Treat development as first and foremost a political problem (address governance due to multiple jurisdictions and encourage the creation of linkage and proactive policy making), as opposed to an economic problem;

Understand that success is measured by social, cultural, political and economic impacts, as opposed to economic impacts alone; and

The solution is an inclusive sound institutional foundation, strategic direction, and informed action, as opposed to spending money and increasing debt.

We hope this provides you with a better understanding of the Qualicum Beach Chamber of Commerce and, more importantly, how we view our role within the northern part of the regional district.

The chamber is currently in the process of preparing for our strategic planning as we set goals and positions for 2012 and beyond.

We recently attended a meeting with 15 other island chambers of commerce and have committed to being part of a working group that will, through the BC Chamber of Commerce, advocate on behalf of Vancouver Island in order to voice the Island’s needs to government.

We encourage all businesses and area groups to share their visions and strategies, so that collectively, we can ensure our goals are in support of, and in alignment with, the long term sustainable development needs of this amazing region.

Our staff and board welcome your feedback and encourage all stakeholders to work together as we develop an inclusive and comprehensive community building strategy.





Peter Dukakis is the president of the Qualicum Beach Chamber of Commerce and is a regular contributor to this column.





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