Tracey Gard was expecting to be the Williams Lake Chamber of Commerce president but not quite this soon.
Gard, who was the chamber’s first vice-president, took on the interim presidency when Walt Cobb, now former president, stepped down earlier this month after announcing he was running for mayor of Williams Lake in November’s municipal election.
Gard, the general manager/retail sales manager for The Wolf and The Rush radio stations in Quesnel, Williams Lake and 100 Mile House, had been the chamber’s first vice-president and, as such, was scheduled to become president in October.
She is experienced when it comes to advocating for business through chambers of commerce.
Gard has been involved with the Williams Lake organization for five years and spent 10 years with the chamber in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont.
One of the issues she’s found common to both organizations is the struggle to keep residents shopping at home. In Sault Ste. Marie cross-border shopping was a concern; in Williams Lake it’s people leaving the community to patronize larger communities.
For now, she’s focussed on a mid-year strategic review that will involve assessing the organization’s direction.
From Gard’s perspective some of the local issues are the economy, downtown development and the Prosperity mine. In regards to the latter, Gard says the the chamber will take some time to explore the direction members would like to take on that issue.
Currently, the organization has taken the same stance as the B.C. Chamber of Commerce on the HST, voting no in terms maintaining the tax.
“We’re trying to get information out to our members,” Gard says.
A recent point of pride for the Williams Lake chamber is having one of its policies passed at the B.C. Chamber AGM which will be taken to the Canadian Chamber of Commerce.
“I think we have an excellent chamber,” Gard says.
In October, she expects to be officially sworn in to the two-year term.