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Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Saugeen Shores Chamber Working On Tourism Deal

Saugeen Shores | by Megan Johnson  

Chamber says it spends too much time working on tourism which is not balanced by the funding they receive.

The Saugeen Shores Chamber of Commerce is currently negotiating a tourism deal with the Town of Saugeen Shores before they present their budget for 2020 to Council.

Bayshore Broadcasting recently reported during the  Saugeen Shores Operations Budget (Nov. 19) the Chamber had not provided a budget for 2020 at this time.

Executive Director for the Chamber Kimberley Inniss-Peterson says the proportion of time the Chamber spends working on tourism versus working on Chamber activities isn't balanced to the amount of funding they receive, relative to the total operations.

"Tourism makes up 34 percent of our overall revenue. However, our Operation, approximately 65 percent is spent on tourism, so there's a huge imbalance there."

She says they want to make sure the budget for tourism is accurately developed and the only way to do that was to take a look at their budget first and then see where the tourism budget would fit into that.

"We need to find more ways to cut back, so we have more time to focus on the Chamber".

The current budget line is in the town's Promotion section at $171,500.

On November 19 Mayor Luke Charbonneau said, "you can't approve spending a bunch of money without seeing what it's going to be spent on."

Inniss-Petersen  would like to do more advocacy work for the Chamber members.

"I want to hear more about businesses in the area. What their challenges are and how the Chamber can help."

She adds the Chamber is a place for businesses to form a collective voice which she says "has been lacking,".

The Saugeen Shores Chamber would also like to focus on Networking opportunities and set up resources for new business to set them up for success and create a stronger relationship with the Ontario Chamber of Commerce.

Inniss-Petersen  believes the past budget meetings is not how a partnership should work.

"Historically what we've done... we've stood in front of Council in a presentation type format, to me that's not an efficient, professional way to enter into a partnership. What we're proposing instead, is a partnership towards a tourism delivery model."

She says that is what is currently being negotiated and she wants to continue the great partnership with the Town.

"We cannot remain a viable Chamber without that balance and if we don't make the changes right now we'll always be tourism. That's all the chamber will be."

The Executive Director didn't want to publicly announce the funding they would quote the town for their 2020 budget at this time, but says it would be less money.

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