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Curb appeal, youth engagement priorities for chamber

By Brian Oliver, The Graphic

Chamber president Preston Meier speaks Thursday during the organization's Annual General Meeting. (Brian Oliver/The Graphic)

Chamber president Preston Meier speaks Thursday during the organization's Annual General Meeting. (Brian Oliver/The Graphic)

The Portage la Prairie and District Chamber of Commerce outlined its strategies for 2018 at Thursday's Annual General Meeting and among them are engaging the city's young entrepreneurs, development in the west end of Portage and infrastructure upgrades. 

"We're hearing (from members) what their real challenges and issues are in their ability to do business," says Preston Meier, chamber president. " Some of the issues that were coming up at our various engagement sessions were the west end development (8th St. and Sask. Ave. west to the tracks) and infrastructure - sidewalks, curbs - is what our business members are basically saying they would like to see some changes on."

The chamber will now take these concerns to the necessary municipal and provincial departments in hopes of having them addressed. The chamber also announced the creation of a youth board member position and that PCI Grade 12 student Arishya Aggarwal, 15, will oversee those duties for the term.

"I always hear that the youths' voice is very suppressed and that's the main reason I joined," Aggarwal said of her interest in the position. "I wanted to act as a link between the chamber and the youth."

The youth board member will be responsible for chamber advocacy at the school level and will also be holding events throughout the year.

The organization also passed a motion for fiscal sovereignty from city and RM funding.

"We want to thank the city of Portage la Prairie and the RM who have funded us for a number of years," says Meyer. "But we also felt, as a board, that we are an organization that has to stand unto our own." 

The chamber's source of funding is now solely through its membership base and through revenues gained from the many wonderful events hosted each year. 

The chamber is holding an event in early March celebrating International Women's Day before hosting the annual Home and Life Expo, set for March 23-24 at Stride Place. For more information on chamber goings-on, visit portagechamber.com.


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