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The Hay River Chamber of Commerce has a new leadership group.

Five executive members and seven directors were chosen at the organization’s annual general meeting on April 18.

The new board of directors and executive of the Hay River Chamber of Commerce include, front row, left to right, director Eileen Teng Gross, second-vice-president Terry Rowe, president Joe Melanson and secretary Kandace Groenewegen; and, back row, left to right, directors Joey Jung, Lilia Alcos, Donna Lee Jungkind, Robert Bouchard and Jane Groenewegen. Missing from the photo are first vice-president Kelly Schofield, treasurer Steve Anderson and director Itayi Mhene. Paul Bickford/NNSL photo

The new executive consists of returning president Joe Melanson and returning treasurer Steve Anderson.

They are joined on the executive by first vice-president Kelly Schofield and second vice-president Terry Rowe. Schofield and Rowe were both previously directors.

The final member the executive is Kandace Groenewegen, who is the new secretary.

The board of directors now consists of Robert Bouchard, Itayi Mhene, Lilia Alcos, Joey Jung, Jane Groenewegen, Eileen Teng Gross and Donna Lee Jungkind.

Melanson sounded optimistic about the direction of the chamber.

“Our membership is pretty strong,” he said. “We’ve done quite well that way.”

Plus, he noted the highway sign project – in which the chamber rents space on advertising billboards at the entrance to town – has done quite well and has helped the organization’s finances.

“We look forward to another successful year and I think things are going to get better in time,” said Melanson, who had been first vice-president but became president last fall when former president Sherry DaRosa left the community.

The president also noted there have been several applications for the vacant executive assistant position with the chamber.

“I want to get an EA back in our office and start servicing our members a little better than what we have in the past, and maybe a bit more loudness with our government,” he said. “I’m thinking territorial government more than anything.”

Melanson also noted a new chamber website is being constructed.

“We hope to have that up and running in the next little while,” he said. “I’m kind of excited because it does show a lot of new things in the community.”

Melanson also noted that the chamber is considering having a fall trade show this year.

Jane Groenewegen brought up the issue of businesses and businesspeople who used to be very active in chamber, but are no longer.

She believes grievances or concerns from the past are causing some people to keep their distance from the chamber.

“I think with the new year now and the new executive we should have a meeting and try to get people together and try to maybe have an airing of what those concerns are because, if we want attendance and participation, we have to give people a reason to be there,” she said.

Robert Bouchard suggested the chamber conduct a survey to get feedback from members.

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Paul Bickford

Paul Bickford is the reporter for Hay River Hub.

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