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Simpson seeks ways to attract business

Roxanna Thompson
Northern News Services
Friday, March 23, 2007

FORT SIMPSON - The Fort Simpson Chamber of Commerce is looking for ways to create business opportunities in the area.

Discussion at the chamber's annual general meeting on Feb. 28 focused on what the organization can do to bolster both their own membership numbers and the future of the community.

The question is what the chamber has to provide to get more members, said Kirby Groat, who was acclaimed as the new president replacing Duncan Canvin.

It has been hard to put a finger on what people want from the membership, said Canvin. The chamber expects to have 40 paid members this year although only nine people attended the meeting.

Lindsay Waugh suggested that the chamber pick three or four issues to look at that are of concern to local business owners and community members such as plans for new facilities.

Many people are not really sure where the community is going but there seems to be great expectations out there, he said.

"It will take people to get together and feel the energy. We're all trying to create opportunity," said Waugh.

Waugh asked if the chamber could advertise that the region is open for business. A message has to be put out there, he said.

There are a number of hurdles standing in the road to development according to Groat.

One of the problems is the fact that the population of the village is holding stationary at about 1,300 and shows no sign of increasing.

"Tomorrow is the same as today and there is nothing to look forward to," said Groat.

Some chamber members are still advocating having hope.

Fort Simpson has been known for having good ideas and being creative, said Canvin.

"Maybe it's time to get those creative juices flowing," he said.

Suggested ideas include finding alternative sources of energy, creating a green project or seeing progress on the local roads.

During the meeting elections for the other chamber positions were also held. Gilbert Cazon was acclaimed vice-president and Sean Whelly was returned by acclamation to the position of secretary and treasurer. Ivan Simons is returning as a director and is being joined by Lindsay Waugh, Peter Shaw and Sherry Kean.