Yamba. Adam Hourigan

Yamba's passport to the future: membership boost vital

BOOSTING membership by making its meetings indispensable for local businesses will be the way to improve the Yamba Chamber of Commerce performance says new vice president Debbie McCredie.

Speaking after the first meeting for 2017 on Monday night, Ms McCredie said now was the time to strike for the chamber to boost membership and move its agenda forward for the year.

"One of the main complaints we have is people don't come to meetings because there's nothing for them," she said.

"We have to get things happening at meetings that will get small businesses involved more.

"Talks and guest speakers talking about issues that affect business will give business people a reason to come along."

Ms McCredie said the first suggestion for a guest speaker, the RMS to talk about the new Harwood Bridge, was so popular it became a special event.

"It was so popular we agreed it would be too big for a normal chamber meeting so we've organised for it have its own night," Ms McCredie said.

"We are planning to hold it on February 28."

Monday's meeting also discussed a plan to create a Passport to Yamba - a book of discount vouchers for the local community.

Ms McCredie said there had been similar ideas for holidaymakers in the past, but this proposal was aimed more at the local community and would operate throughout the year.

She said there was another reason the chamber needs to boost membership.

"We have lots of good ideas for programs throughout the year, but people feel frightened they might get stuck with something they don't have enough time to do," she said.

"I'm sure that's why people stay away. The more people you have involved, the more you can share the work around."

She said now was the right time for businesses to make a commitment to the chamber.

"It's a new year and everyone is looking forward to 2017," she said. "Right now the year is stretching out ahead of us, with lots of opportunities available.

"There's not a better time to get involved to make sure we don't miss those opportunities."

She said Yamba had enjoyed another successful summer holiday period, but businesses also needed to think long term where Yamba might go.

"I've heard people come here and say Yamba is just like Byron Bay was 20 or 30 years ago," she said.

"That's not something I totally agree with and I don't think many others would either.

"Turning into another Byron Bay is not what the people who live and operate businesses here want to happen."

She said the chamber needed to make sure it was an effective lobby group to present decision makers with strong, well thought out ideas.

"We can't make decisions on what developments come here," she said. "That's the Clarence Valley Council's role.

"But we have to be a strong voice saying this is what the community here wants and doesn't want so we don't go down a road no-one really intended to go down."

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