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Town grants Chamber $20K

Chamber estimates up to $65K in lost revenue, turns to council for help
Part of a poster created by the Smithers District Chamber of Commerce for display in businesses, which has spread around the province. (Chamber graphic)

The Town of Smithers has given the Smithers District Chamber of Commerce a grant of $20,000.

In putting forward the motion at the May 26 regular meeting of council, Deputy Mayor Gladys Atrill noted the Chamber is looking at up to $65,000 in lost revenue due to COVID-19, $15,000 from membership dues and $23,000-$50,000 in event income.

“The Chamber is providing critical service to community businesses, both its members and non-members with help in grant-writing, aiding people [to] work their way through federal and provincial financial assistance programs and in understanding guidelines for safe re-opening,” Atrill said.

The motion passed unanimously, but Coun. Frank Wray said while he had no problem supporting it, he felt council should make it clear this is an exceptional circumstance.

READ MORE: Restaurants grapple with reopening under new regulations

“I think it is important for the community to know that council has helped businesses in this way, but also that we’re not an open bank account for people who are having trouble,” he said. “Inasmuch as I think it would be nice to help more people, we’re also having lots of odd things in our budget.”

The $20,000 will be provided through the Town’s operating surplus.

Chamber president Greg Wacholtz was grateful.

“It is wonderful that the Town has provided this funding to the Chamber for the work that has been done by our manager, Sheena Miller, and staff member, Susan Bundock,” he said. “They have done a tremendous amount of work and advocacy for businesses in Smithers and area, as well as helping out with items that have been used throughout the North.”

Walcholtz was referring to two posters created by the Smithers team and distributed to businesses all over the province for display. They describe the physical distancing and hygiene protocols customers and staff should be following and all the measures businesses have put in place to keep people safe.

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Thom Barker

About the Author: Thom Barker

After graduating with a geology degree from Carleton University and taking a detour through the high tech business, Thom started his journalism career as a fact-checker for a magazine in Ottawa in 2002.
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