The Squamish Chamber of Commerce will be appointing a new president for 2008 whose direction will likely play a vital role in connecting local businesses with windfall from the upcoming Winter Games. To secure the position, however, candidates first have to be elected to the chamber board.
This week, board nominations closed with eight people vying for six positions. Each year, half of the 12-member board finishes their two-year term.
Members have until Nov. 19 to cast their vote. From this pool, the board will select its president, but they won't find current president Ron Anderson in the runnings. Having completed two consecutive terms, he must leave the top role open for others. He says the next president can count on facing the town's ongoing expansion issues.
"It's difficult to predict what future issues will come forward but there's always going to be growth," he said. "What is going to be the best social economic position that Squamish can possibly get into dealing with the Olympics? Those are going to be future things that we have to look after."
Anderson is not walking away from the Chamber. He is one of six competing for a place on the board and will automatically be part of its executive as past president.He said whoever steps into his shoes would need to be receptive.
"As the president of the chamber you always have to keep an open mind. Look to the community to give you feedback and look to your board also."
In the past two years, Anderson said he is proud to see chamber memberships take a massive leap from 313 to 549 members.He credits the chamber's active involvement in the community for its success.The seven other members competing for a position on the board have a range of experience with the chamber and the community.Margo Dent of Prismatic Soul is finishing up a two-year term as vice-president of the board.
Stephen Drinkwater of SGD Consulting is new to town, having decided to make Squamish his home last spring.Christy Eldred of North Shore Credit Union has been helping with the chamber's golf tournament for the past two years. Carol Elliot of Silver Active Wear has also been lending a hand to the annual event since 2005 as a photographer.
Michael Hutchison of Bethel Development got to know Squamish from the outside as a longtime ski instructor for Whistler. In the past five years, he has worked on several entry level and affordable housing projects in town such as Amblepath.
Sameer Kajani of Squamish Inn on the Water also has an interest in housing prices having sat on the Property Assessment Panel for the past five years.
John Lowe of Squamish Mills has been involved in the community through a numbers of organizations such as the Senior Citizens' Home Society, the Squamish Loggers Sports Committee and Squamish Lions Club.