Last month marked my first full year with the North Bay & District Chamber of Commerce.  From a personal perspective, it has been a great learning experience and I have thoroughly enjoyed it.   Patti Carr, Sue Adams and Carol Porter are three colleagues who, in my opinion, anyone would be grateful to work with.  They have been the heart and soul of the Chamber, for the better part of the last three decades and do so much, for our business community each and every day.  I am fortunate to work with the best.

I have also had the pleasure of working with a dedicated Board of Directors who give so much back to our communities, day in and day out.  These volunteers from our business community, promote the Chamber everywhere they go and have provided excellent direction and sage advice.  All of them provide a variety of expertise and experience, which they bring to the Chamber table.  Our business communities are well served by the individuals that comprise our Board and again, I am fortunate to work with the best.

Last week, the Ontario Chamber of Commerce held its Annual General Meeting and Conference and was hosted in Hamilton.  Policy debate and setting the course for the next year, was top of the list for Chamber members from across Ontario.  Much focus was given to the upcoming Provincial election and the Ontario Chamber of Commerce “Vote for Prosperity” campaign.  The campaign outlines the business community’s concerns and lack of confidence in the Provincial economy.  Over a thousand businesses from across Ontario were surveyed and the results of that survey formed the basis for the campaign.

It is obviously very timely, with the election coming early next month.  All parties have been provided with this information and soon it will be put out to all candidates in their individual ridings.  The Ontario Chamber will be providing updates to all our members, as the parties roll out their platforms over the next few weeks.  The business community will be watching closely, as their confidence in the economy has seen a substantial drop over the previous year.  Links to the Ontario Chamber “Vote for Prosperity” campaign can be accessed through our website www.nbdcc.ca.

Next week, in conjunction with YourTV North Bay (Cogeco), the Chamber will host a Meet the Candidates Debate.  This will air on Your TV North Bay on Tuesday May the 15th at 7:00p.m.  Make sure you save the date and hear what the candidates have to say about the future of our riding and our Province.  Thanks to YourTV North Bay for making this possible.

Also, over the next six to seven weeks, people in our area will hear more and more about “Ignite North Bay”.  Nothing to be worried about, as no explosives are involved but rather an emerging grass roots effort to inspire our community.  Stay tuned….more to come!

Peter Chirico is the President and CEO of the North Bay & District Chamber of Commerce.