Hello my friends, my neighbours, and col­leagues,

As I sat down today to write my Advocacy Committee report to you, I intended to give you an update on the activities with regard to the transportation and transit issues within our business community of Clover­dale, Clayton and Campbell Heights, as well as an update on the other issues we are pressing forward on thru our advocacy efforts. However, after hearing the announcements from our Provincial Government and Health Officer, it became clear to me that there are much more pressing issues that need to be addressed.

The Cloverdale and District Chamber of Commerce has been working hard for the last year to continue to serve our members and our commu­nity. We have worked to ensure that you are kept up to date on govern­ment supports and subsidies available to businesses and not-for-profit organizations and other resources to aid in our economic resilience. We have offered skills training that will aid weathering these tough econom­ic times and we have continued to be your voice and connector to our elected representatives in Federal, Provincial and Municipal government. At every opportunity we have encouraged our members and community to be vigilant in our regard to COVID19 health and safety protocols in order to bend the curve and hopefully control the spread of this pandemic.

Unfortunately, we find ourselves in what is clearly a third wave of infections with our province posting higher and higher numbers over the last few weeks. Today, the government acted again in order to help turn this tide. Once again, many of our businesses and industries will be negatively affected by the new restrictions – notably our restaurants/hospitality sec­tor, gyms and fitness centres. For the next three weeks, indoor dining is prohibited and those who only serve snacks or appetizers must close. This comes at a time when restaurants were just starting to see a bit of returned patronage and is a heavy blow to this sector. Travel too has been restricted to work or medical travel only with certain communities completely shut down (Whistler/Blackcomb.)

As a result of these measures, I am using this opportunity to urge you to strict adherence to the health measures: work from home, stay home, wear your masks, social distance wherever and whenever possible. When shopping for essential goods and services – SHOP AT HOME and Buy LO­CAL. Our businesses and local economy depends on your support and ad­herence to these principles.

Though the vaccine is being rolled-out, we need to be aware that it does not offer immediate immunity – nor will the immunization of our commu­nity be completed before the end of summer. We need to keep protecting each other. We need to remember to put the rights and needs of our neigh­bours in our foremost consciousness. Everyone of us plays a role in beat­ing this virus. Remember, Cloverdale and District Chamber of Commerce is here to work for and with you! I am here to stand with you! Together – we will build a Better future for all! As always, it is my pleasure to live in, work for and serve my hometown – Cloverdale.

Submitted by Rebecca Smith, Advocacy Chair