Brydon Roe, the new president of the Chamber of Commerce, really wants to increase the awareness of what the Chamber does amongst the general public; he even suggested a headline for the article – “Do you know what the Chamber does?” – to help hammer home the point.
“I don’t think people in the public know, or necessarily care what the Chamber does,” he told the Times Review in an interview last week. “I think we want to change that.”
Roe, 41, was elected president of the Chamber in January after Don Teuton relinquished the role. The co-owner of the Powder Springs and developer of several other businesses and properties in Revelstoke, Roe has lived in Revelstoke since 2006 and been on the Chamber’s Board of Directors for the past two years.
“It’s an interesting and exciting time for Revelstoke,” he said when asked about his motivation for being Chamber president. “There’s a lot of potential to draw more visitors here and maybe more permanent residents. There’s definitely an interest here with the mountain and we want to capitalize on that and make sure Revelstoke is prepared and we can offer these people a real positive experience.”
Roe said Chamber activities can benefit everyone, be they members, non-members, residents or tourists. “We, as a collective voice, have to look after our members but in doing so that ends up benefiting a lot of the community,” he said.
The Chamber has been at the forefront of several issues lately, most notably the tax debate at city hall. It was the Chamber that spurred council to look closely at the budget but Roe said the aim wasn’t for service cuts but for city hall to look at efficiency savings.
“We do not want to see parks and rec hours get cut, pool hours get cut. That’s not what we’re talking about,” he said. “We’re talking about tightening our belts during an economic slowdown and making sure that everything runs efficiently.”
Amongst other issues the Chamber will be focusing as part of its strategic plan are:
• Improving the Trans-Canada Highway. Roe called the stretch around Revelstoke “an embarassment.”
• Making the Eastern access along Townley more attractive and improving signage and wayfinding along that route. “It doesn’t represent Revelstoke that well,” he said.
• Establish a permanent visitor information centre downtown.
• Improve the economic development package that potential new residents and business owners receive. He called the current package “fairly unattractive,” adding: “We’re trying to make it a little more glossy, a little more attractive to people – make Revelstoke stand out.”
• Work with the city to provide more incentives for businesses to set up shop in Revelstoke.
• Make sure the city looks attractive and is prepared for people coming here. “Make them want to to stay, want to come back and want to tell their friends,” he said.
Lastly, he said he wants members of the community to talk to board members to help guide their activities. “We have a real collective voice and a way to make an impact and that’s what we’re trying to do,” he said.