Langley chamber of commerce prepares for a busy year

This is Chamber of Commerce Week in British Columbia, and the local business group is spending its time gathering new members and preparing for the year ahead.

The Greater Langley Chamber of Commerce is hosting a monthly meeting this week, along with the first in a string of networking open houses that will hit all Langley’s major neighbourhoods, from now until March.

The support from the province and time in the spotlight is a good way to bring in some new members, noted chamber executive director Lynn Whitehouse.

“What do we do? Well, we advocate for business,” Whitehouse said.

That means dealing with a broader range of issues than you might expect.

Whitehouse noted that one of the late-February items on the agenda for the chamber is to finalize its list of policy resolutions that will go to the B.C. Chamber of Commerce meeting in May.

One of the positions Langley’s chamber will advocate for is asking the province to return to three-year funding for some non-profit groups.

The Greater Langley Chamber of Commerce is itself a non-profit, but in addition it has numerous members that are non-profit groups, or that work and volunteer with them.

Non-profits usually have to re-apply every year for funding from the provincial government, after a change in the rules some years ago, Whitehouse said.

“They need to have the stability of three-year funding from the Lottery Corpor-ation,” said White-house.

The uncertainty can also make it harder for the non-profits to contract with professionals.

The Langley chamber saw one of its resolutions passed at last year’s Canadian Chamber of Commerce meeting, when it called for transparency and standardization in the fees charged for credit card processing – an issue of interest to many small merchants who rely on their ability to accept credit card transactions.

New resolutions from their members will be accepted up to the start of March.

Alongside advocacy and networking, the Greater Langley Chamber will be doing a lot of educational outreach this year.

There will be a municipal election in November, possibly paired with a referendum on TransLink funding.

The chamber has for many years played a big part in encouraging and hosting debates of candidates, with both business and non-business questions tossed to those seeking election in Langley.

The chamber will also be gathering information and getting it out to voters in advance of the referendum, which could affect transportation for years.

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