It was another year of extreme challenges for the Fernie business community, but through it all I have been so humbled by the resilience and tenacity shown by all of you. It’s been an honour to work alongside you all as we faced ongoing challenges like labour shortages, staff housing difficulties, supply chain issues, and more recently a resurgence of the pandemic causing undue hardships on multiple industries yet again.
But I want to focus on all the positives I witnessed this year. The power of flexibility, creative thinking, ingenuity, perseverance, and community spirit was on full display all year in Fernie, BC. It reminded me how strong and compassionate our local business community is, and how a little bit of kindness can go a long way. We’ve had multiple new businesses open in Fernie and despite the current challenges, there is no shortage of optimism for growth and prosperity in 2022 and beyond.
2021 Chamber Initiatives
This year we advocated strongly on behalf of our business community with all three levels of government making sure they understood the situation on the ground for Fernie businesses. We also launched exciting new economic development initiatives that will serve our community’s economic recovery.
These included projects like the Elk Valley Economic Recovery Advisor project which just wrapped up the largest survey of businesses in the Elk Valley, and we look forward to sharing those results and action items in the new year.
We also continued to build the Work In Fernie workforce attraction website and online job board to address labour shortages, celebrated a full year of operations for our new downtown coworking space 2nd Edition Coworking, and continued to provide outstanding visitor services with the Fernie Visitor Information Centre seeing many more visitors in 2021 than the previous year.
2021 Chamber Events
We were also able to deliver your favourite Chamber events and programming in safe and modified formats like Griz Days, the Business Excellence Awards, our AGM, the Fernie Ambassador Program, online workshops/roundtables, a federal all-candidates forum, and our most successful Shop Local Holiday Kickoff event ever.
I would like to thank our amazing team at the Fernie Chamber for making all this possible under difficult circumstances – Kalina Whitelaw, Jesse Ross, Taylor Jenkins, Sandra Robertson, and our amazing summer students Aislinn Dressler, Sienna Longo, and Kate Brennan.
Thank you for your Continued Support!
I hope you have found value in being a member of your local Chamber this year as we worked tirelessly to support you and the wider community. We are here to serve you and always love to hear feedback and new ideas from our members. The Fernie Chamber wishes you and your families a safe and joyous holiday season, and a much more prosperous and optimistic new year!
All the best,
Brad Parsell – Executive Director
COVID-19 Financial Supports for Businesses …
We understand that times are tough for businesses right now, especially with the new health measures recently implemented. Below are financial supports available to you:
The provincial government has announced one-time grants of up to $10,000 for businesses temporarily shut down under the province’s latest health orders. Applications for the COVID-19 Closure Relief Grant will begin in January.