Bellingen Chamber of Commerce

Chamber Matters – July 2015

13 Jul


With the winter months now upon us, we have a flurry of local activity … the absolutely superb Readers and Writers Festival filled the streets, venues, accommodation places and generally brought a buzz into town on the long weekend.


Interesting however is the number of people who have commented to me about the ‘coffee caravan’ that was located in the park opposite Memorial Hall – so many mixed views ranging from “that’s not very supportive of the local cafés” through to “well if the local cafes aren’t open in the later hours of the day, then good luck to those showing the initiative”.


The chamber’s view is pretty simple (in fact its one of the key strategic platforms we set last year), we need to be proactive working with event organisers to ensure we connect what they are seeking from local businesses … and based on the feedback the chamber has received, we have more work to be done before this connection is working to everyone’s benefit.


Next event coming up is the chamber’s “Crazy Day” on Saturday. Once again many of the local traders are digging deep to sponsor what looks to be another bumper day.


But even here we have a few traders prepared to let others do the heavy (financial) lifting and feel that it’s absolutely fine to sit back and enjoy the extra benefits which flow on the day. Oh well, diversity of views and opinions is one of those things that makes life interesting, but having said that we have more work to be done connecting with all of our local businesses.


Lastly there is the Bello Winter Music in the first weekend in July. Lots already been written about this so all I am going to say is that if the level of enquires I am getting for accommodation on that weekend is an indicator of the number of people coming into town, then this is shaping up to be a fantastic launch for this new event on the Bello calendar.


All NSW local councils are required to respond by June 30 to the State Government’s “Fit for the Future” initiative. As I have previously written, these type of initiatives are often a Trojan Horse to drive major structural change, cost cutting and other less than pleasant changes across an industry or organisation.


Although the jury is still out about the implications to regional councils (unlike in the metropolitan areas where it is clearly all about amalgamations), Liz Jeremy and her team have been busy preparing our council’s response.


And while the impact on us in the Bellingen Shire may not become clear for some time to come, we shouldn’t underestimate the potential for this initiative to change how council operates, looks and feels in our shire.


In March Liz and her team presented to a packed chamber event on their early analysis of the council’s response and true to her word to come back and update the business community, they will be presenting on Thursday, July 9 at 4.45pm for a 5pm start at Fennel Seed Café.


This is a great opportunity to get into the detail of the work that has been undertaken by council and understand the risks, issues, opportunities and threats as the State Government pulls us into what is very likely to be a very far-reaching and impactful initiative … so I encourage all business people to come along to hear, question and be engaged.