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NWT Chamber of Commerce axes staff
As a cost-cutting measure, organization becomes 'wholly volunteer-run'

Jessica Davey-Quantick
Northern News Services
Thursday, February 16, 2017

The NWT Chamber of Commerce is cutting costs - starting with the executive director.

"Our priority is getting the job done right," Bishop Mark Hagemoen said.

The chamber announced on Feb. 8 that the position, currently occupied by Mike Bradshaw, would be terminated immediately.

Chamber vice-president Trevor Wever stated in an e-mail the organization has seen a decrease in membership and reduction of funding from government.

"The chamber's situation is not unlike any other business in the North," he stated.

"Everyone is tightening their belt."

Natural Resources Canada's latest report on mineral exploration spending projected a 47-per-cent drop in exploration and deposit appraisal for 2016 in the NWT, with spending intentions dropping from $100.9 million in 2015 to $53 million in 2016.

In September, the NWT Chamber of Commerce presented a gloomy outlook for the economic year, finding 65.38 per cent of those polled believe the NWT economy will decline this year, with another 52.88 per cent believing the economy will continue to tank into 2019.

Bradshaw could not be reached for comment, and by Feb. 10 was already no longer at his desk. The move was the result of a special board meeting held on Feb. 1.

"A detailed review of the chamber's financial status was conducted by the board and immediate cost containment measures were required to maintain the longevity of the organization," stated Wever, adding the decision was in keeping with good business practices along with tough decisions many businesses have had to make in this economic climate. "Mr. Bradshaw was part of the initial review and had identified early on that some of the chamber's costs needed to be reduced in order to protect the organization."

In a news release, chamber president Richard Morland thanked Bradshaw for his four years of service and wished him success in his future endeavors.

He also stated that going forward, the chamber would be "a wholly volunteer-run organization."

"This direction is consistent with our mission of continuing securely as the voice of business in the Northwest Territories, whilst responsibly managing the fiscal position of the organization in a challenging operating environment," Morland stated in the news release.

Wever said the activities of the eliminated position will be assumed by the current executive members of the board of directors.

"The business sector across the North remains challenged, particularly in the regions outside Yellowknife," stated Morland in an e-mail.

"The chamber of commerce is not immune from these influences and the board, as responsible stewards of the chamber, has taken the necessary action to remain open for business in this environment."

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