• Airdrie Chamber of Commerce Presents Plans to Help Balzac Businesses Grow

    According to the Airdrie Chamber of Commerce's boundaries, drawn 50 years ago, Balzac is within their scope and they hope to start working with more businesses in the area.
    • Rocky View County Reeve Greg Boehlke will be providing a State of the County Address at a lunch event hosted by Airdrie Chamber of Commerce on Jan. 18.

    RVC council hears about Airdrie Chamber of Commerce plan to help Balzac businesses grow.

    A plan to help grow the Balzac business region was presented to Rocky View County (RVC) Council’s Public Presentation Committee on Oct. 18 by representatives of the Airdrie Chamber of Commerce.

    The Airdrie Chamber claims Balzac and even portions of northern Calgary fall under their jurisdiction according to boundaries set at the time of the Chamber’s founding, 50 years ago, explained Marilyne Aalhus, the executive director of the Airdrie Chamber of Commerce.

    Any business that operates within the map boundaries is seen as a partner of the Airdrie Chamber by the Chamber itself.   

    According to Ami Ballman, the Chamber’s president, who was also present at the meeting, the Chamber represents 625 businesses and nonprofits in the region and the goal is to add two or three members of the Balzac business community to the Chamber’s 12 person board. 

    “Our core values are advocacy, innovation, community connection, integrity, inclusivity and diversity,” said Ballman during the presentation.

    Of the 625 businesses and nonprofits associated with the Chamber, 450 of them are members of the Airdrie business community and the other 175 belong to the Rocky View area and Calgary.

    Aalhus outlined that the next steps for the Balzac business inclusion is for the Chamber to host networking events in Balzac in the fall of 2023 and to continue to market the Chamber to people in the region. 

    “We’re here to grow,” said Ballman. “We’re here to serve the businesses and to do what’s best for business.” 

    RVC Division 5 Coun. Greg Boehlke stated he was unsure about the Chamber’s plans to assimilate Balzac businesses into the Chamber. 

    “My concern is we lose our identity,” he said. 

    “Our board is very progressive and sees the need to be informative on how we’re structured,” Aalhus responded. “We want to be mindful of our partnerships.”

    RVC communities of comparable size to Balzac, like Bragg Creek, have their own smaller chambers of commerce.

    Balzac would not be afforded the same opportunity to expand on their own since the community falls directly under the Airdrie Chamber’s pre-drawn boundaries, according to the map presented to the committee by Ballman and Aalhus.

    “Have you ever considered mending the boundary?” asked RVC Division 3 Coun. Reeve Crystal Kissel. “Would you consider allowing growth areas to manage themselves?” 

    Kissel pointed out that places like Bragg Creek have their own chambers and operate just fine. Forcing a smaller community to adhere to a larger one may not be productive for business interests, she added.

    “Our views are not always equal,” said Kissel.

    Aalhus was blunt in her response. 

    “No,” she said. “This is a model that has been successful time and time again. There is more opportunity for businesses to collaborate and succeed together [under this model].” 

    Aalhus and Ballman repeated that they were before council to inform them of the plans to bring in more Balzac businesses into the Chamber. 

    There was no debate or vote held on the matter; it was simply an informative session.