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Change and the Chamber of Commerce

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The newly-elected 2017 Gibsons and District Chamber of Commerce board of directors pose following the annual general meeting. From the left are Joe Oteruelo, Milynda Taylor, Chair William Baker, Antje Unger, Ted McNicol, Fran Miller, Ken Ashdown, and Dave Chisholm. Absent are Sarah Duro and David Shao. Photo submitted

In the course of its 70 years, the Gibsons and District Chamber of Commerce has witnessed and helped direct change, growth, and economic progress in Gibsons and the Sunshine Coast.

Speaking to over 60 of the Chamber’s 230 members at its recent Annual General Meeting, Chamber President William Baker noted “it’s our challenge to ensure that change and growth impact our community positively.”

According to Dave Longman, community visionary:  “If you are stubborn on your vision and flexible on your details” dreaming big in this community will be embraced. His ‘Longman Developments West Coast style’ timber-framed homes, multi-unit developments and multi-use complexes have changed and refreshed the face of Gibsons area. Longman’s most visible project is anchored by the BMO Bank on Gibsons Way. Refusing to accept the bank’s traditional “Greek temple” model for their new building, the company worked with the Town and the client to create an entity that fits into the West Coast timber-framed look of the community. Adding a second story and using the building as a cornerstone for a ‘village concept,’ and stubbornly planning for growth in the face of naysayers, Longman’s Blue Heron complex is fully leased with stable, long-term tenants and is now growing to include phase three – a brewery, micro distillery, lounge and kitchen. “Opportunity favours the bold,” Longman concluded.

Featured speakers Paul and Judith Donin, Gibsons residents and consultants with renowned Ken Blanchard Group, elaborated on the leadership challenges that arise when managing a changing community. “The process of change is utterly predictable,” Paul noted. Pointing out that all persons or communities experiencing change go through six stages in the process of accepting and dealing with change, the Donins presented a lively program to explain how Chamber members, as business leaders in the community, could collaboratively work with residents to build acceptance for new visions or ideas. Quoting economist John Maynard Keynes, Paul stated “The difficulty lies not so much in developing new ideas as escaping old ones.” The Donins concluded that sound planning and collaboration are key to helping the community meet the unknown challenges that lie ahead.

The Gibsons and District Chamber of Commerce is committed to fostering this growth and promoting Coastal prosperity.

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