I hope everyone’s new year has been off to a great start. Our warm winter has been a real pleasure and welcome change from the extended cold we normally experience.
The Chamber has been very busy with events and workshops. We just completed our annual “State of the City Address” with keynote speaker, Prince Albert Mayor Greg Dionne. This event drew a record number 330 attendees.
Our ‘Understanding Treaties – Opportunity for Doing Business with First Nations’ workshop on February 24 is set to be a fabulous interactive event aimed at clarifying First Nations history, Treaties, and culture. It will demonstrate how an improved understanding can accelerate collaboration and business opportunities. The workshop will be facilitated by Mr. John Lagimodiere, owner of ACS Consulting and the editor of Eagle Feather News. The province’s Treaty Commissioner, Mr. George Lafond, will be the guest speaker. The goal of the workshop is to remove the myths and misconceptions about the Aboriginal community and replace them with facts in an effort to promote change and strengthened relationships.
The Chamber is also continuing its efforts and focus on infrastructure. The Chamber is honored to be working with various partners such as the City of Prince Albert, Town of Shellbrook, surrounding Rural Municipalities, the Prince Albert Grand Council and the Department of Highways as a collective Regional Bridge Committee. Efforts have focused on sharing insights, the collection of information and statistics that will assist in developing the future plans needed to not only strengthen our infrastructure, but grow it to meet future demands.
The City and its partners recently commissioned a report by Vmax Management that reviewed and detailed the economic benefits of a Second Bridge over the North Saskatchewan River near the City of Prince Albert. The City is working to complete a full inspection on the Diefenbaker Bridge this spring or summer. Other information sought will be traffic counts that will assist in identifying usage numbers and the areas with the most congestion. As an example, last fall over the thanksgiving weekend, the Diefenbaker bridge realized a new daily record of 32,000 vehicles across it.
Combining all these insights will assist in expanding discussions around the risks, needs and plans to be overcome, in order to move forward with plans for reliable crossings over the North Saskatchewan river. The Chamber and its partners look forward to hosting a community summit this fall once all important information and statistics can be accumulated.
We are continuing efforts with our Samuel McLeod Business Awards and look forward to announcing our Business finalists on Thursday March 19, 2015. The 25th Annual Awards Gala on April 23, 2015 is going to be a great event. I encourage everyone to come out and participate to show support for the excellent businesses we have in our community.
In addition to the many events we host, the Chamber is very active in meeting with community stakeholders. Recently, we participated in a pre-budget roundtable with our MP, Mr. Randy Hoback. We are also continuing discussions and sharing insights with the Prince Albert Parkland Health Region as they continue plans to achieve the needed growth at the Victoria Hospital. The Chamber continues to be engaged in multiple aspects that affect our community’s strength and plans for growth. We are working hard to contribute to the much needed collaboration that assists our community in planning and growing for tomorrow.