Chamber chat

NANAIMO – Downtown a great place to visit.

By Susan Allen, Greater Nanaimo Chamber of Commerce CEO

Happy New Year as we welcome in 2013. As a newcomer to the Island and Nanaimo, I see our community through a different lens than those of you who have been here most of your lives.

I was recently at a meeting where someone said he had not been downtown in 20 years. I was floored by this statement, and when I had a chance to discuss it with him, I found out that he still believed that downtown was unsafe.

I told him that one of the reasons I moved here was because the downtown was so beautiful and how lucky Nanaimo was to have such a gem in the center of town.

Other cities would love to have a waterfront harbour in their downtown that attracts tourists and locals alike. I encouraged him to come downtown, walk through the core and onto the harbourfront. And yes, there is plenty of parking downtown.

If you have not been downtown in years, make it a priority this year to come downtown and check out the eclectic stores and restaurants. You will not be disappointed.

The Successful Cities initiative that the chamber undertook last year has shown we need to work together to enhance our efforts, be stronger as a community and help make changes that will be beneficial to everyone.

I feel privileged to work with new community members who have recently moved here because they also see the potential in Nanaimo as well as those who have been here trying to forge change for some time. Together we are committed to assisting in the retention and expansion of local businesses as well as working to attract new businesses to our region.

We all believe that 2013 is going to be a turning point for Nanaimo and we are looking to build business success through our shared priorities.

We, as a chamber, will continue to lobby local government to cut down the red tape and bureaucracy around development, we will continue to watch the municipal budget and advocate on behalf of our members for lower commercial tax rates and we will continue to offer new programs and services that will meet our member’s needs.

We look forward to 2013 and invite you to find out more about your local chamber by contacting us at 250-756-1191 or