With daylight saving now ‘back on’ businesses are once again enjoying the greater visitor and tourist movements the more daylight hours brings. The local business people I have spoken with of late have reported a steady winter trading season, with a few experiencing nice year of year growth which is great to hear.
The recent festivals, the ever popular Bellingen Music Festival and the new Turtle Festival have played their role in keeping the town vibrant with new visitors and locals alike enjoying their offerings. And looking forward our big, foundation event of Camp Creative is shaping up to be a cracker with numbers well up on last year and many courses fully subscribed….they just keep on keeping on and it’s a fantastic base that many businesses rely upon in their annual planning.
With politics on everyone’s lips of late, it’s nice to see that our new Council are already living up to their commitment of getting out and talking to the community outside their more formal setting. There are signs of some great vision shaping the focus of the Shire’s direction and if Dominick & team can deliver on that, then that will be a fantastic opportunity for Bellingen. I know the Chamber will be working hard to keeping that focus and avoiding the distractions that can so often bog down progress.
Looking at the Chamber’s agenda – next up is a meeting with our local SES team to discuss emergency planning (very timely as we move into the hot season with floods, fires, winds and storms). So join us and the SES team for breakfast on Thursday 20 October at Cedar Bar at 730am.
On November 3 at 6pm we are co-hosting with the Bellingen Co-Working Group the launch of a book by local resident and business person, My Holland. With the book already selling via Amazon and Kindle and internationally, it’s a great opportunity to share with My her experiences in writing and publishing this fantastic achievement. Join us for nibbles and a drink at Bellingen Brewery.
Finally, it’s time for the Chamber’s AGM. This will be at Cedar Bar on Tuesday 15 Nov at 6pm. It has been a big year for the Chamber, hosting over a dozen events, some attracting over 100 people. We believe that the hard work undertaken behind the scenes and through these events and other activities is appreciated and recognised by many across the Shire. Certainly the strong and stable membership appears to say that we are on the right track!
But like many things in life, momentum requires renewal and Jan Dark our exemplary Chamber Secretary and myself as President will be stepping down to allow that renewal. Jan has sold and relocating down south so it is fond farewell to her and Chris. As for me, I have sold my local business Lily Pily Country House and whilst remaining in Bellingen, I don’t believe it’s appropriate that I am not a local business operator when I stand as the key representative of local business people (and if you don’t accept that, as some have said to me, then my new work that is seeing me spend a week every month in China, simply doesn’t allow me the flexibility to lead the Chamber).
However, with the changes in the Council’s leadership and the opportunity it presents all of us to really place Bellingen in the epicentre of all things sustainable (energy, environment, resources, etc), a new team will have a fantastic opportunity to build on the work of the past few years of the team I have had the privilege to lead (many of whom I believe are keen to remain on the Board) and steer the Chamber’s role in that exciting direction. So come along, see your fellow business colleagues and maybe even take the step and join the Board as it’s a great way to network into the town and influence the year ahead.
Bruce Levy (Lily Pily Country House)
President, Bellingen Chamber of Commerce