Airdrie Chamber steps into national circuitSome of Airdrie's Business Awards winners take a celebratory photo on the stage at Bert Church Theatre during the 2022 ceremony on October 20. PHOTO BY COURTESY OF THE AIRDRIE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
The Airdrie Chamber of Commerce took its advocacy efforts to the national scale after participating in the 2022 Canadian Chambers of Commerce (CCC) annual general meeting and seeing a co-sponsored resolution be adopted.
The Airdrie Chamber of Commerce co-sponsored a resolution put forward by the Medicine Hat Chamber of Commerce to request that the federal government reintroduce the Community Revitalization Fund, and have it focused towards revitalizing downtown and main street strips of communities across Canada.
It was one of twelve resolutions presented by Chambers from Alberta that were adopted at the AGM last month.
Airdrie Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Marilyne Aalhus said the resolution being adopted by the CCC membership demonstrates that there is a significant need for revitalization supports across the country.
“We, along with other chambers, saw that there was for sure a huge need, and especially for cities that are growing as quickly as ours,” said Aalhus.
“It’s important that the cores of even smaller cities have placemaking and opportunities for businesses to grow. There’s no doubt over the years that people have seen their communities transform, and quite often (municipalities) try to branch out and grow,” she said.
“Downtown for sure is still a priority for most communities. In Airdrie, with Main Street being one of our top priorities, this grant would be hugely applicable to our City, and all of the businesses and residents who could benefit.”
It was the first time in Aalhus’ four years with the Chamber that Airdrie had appeared among the CCC. She said the organization aims to continue doing so, as the Airdrie Chamber has more resources as well as an advocacy committee to work with.
“Our city is not slowing down in growth, so we need to make sure that our voice is heard by all levels of government,” said Aalhus.
“At some point we’re going to explore what other policies we will support, particularly around larger industries that have a ripple effect into our city,” she said.
“We’re now the fifth largest (municipality) in our province, and moving probably closer to number three in the next decade. We really have to take this seriously and support our business community.”
She added that it’s an important development, as it only enhances the on-going advocacy efforts the Chamber makes in the interest of businesses.
“The bottom line is that Chambers are here to support business health and prosperity. We’re very much involved in moving forward and passing policies so that government can really understand the value… of businesses,” she said.
“We need to be more vocal about that, and we’re doing it a lot more. We’re making huge strides in provincial and municipal change, and now we’re even moving forward at a federal level.”
She said if the federal government is willing to accommodate the request from CCC, it could mean big opportunities for Airdrie, as well as other communities across the country.
“The business community in our city needs to understand that, when we move these policies forward, it could be substantial funding for a city of our size,” she said.
“The benefits will be right here at home, and that’s what we as a Chamber are trying to do.”
For next steps, the Airdrie Chamber of Commerce’s advocacy committee intends to meet with Banff-Airdrie MP Blake Richards to lay their case.
As well, the Airdrie Chamber intends to take part in the next round of provincial resolutions when Alberta Chambers of Commerce has their next meeting in February.