The agreement between the municipality of Summerland and the Summerland Chamber of Commerce is changing, and business licenses will no longer include a chamber membership. (Summerland Review file photo)

The agreement between the municipality of Summerland and the Summerland Chamber of Commerce is changing, and business licenses will no longer include a chamber membership. (Summerland Review file photo)

Businesses no longer automatic chamber members in Summerland

Business license fees no longer include automatic membership in chamber

Summerland businesses will have the choice of whether to join the Summerland Chamber of Commerce, under a new agreement between the chamber and the municipality.

For around two decades, businesses were automatically enrolled in the chamber when they purchased their business licenses.

“We are moving away from that model,” said Brad Dollevoet, director of development services for the municipality.

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The agreement was presented to council in December, and while it has not yet been signed, Dollevoet said businesses will now have the option whether to join the chamber.

Instead, Summerland council will enter into a fee for service agreement with the chamber, with a value of $110,000 for 2021 and $113,000 for 2022. The agreement is for the provision of visitor services.

The change was approved at a closed meeting on Nov. 2.

While a chamber membership will no longer be included with the purchase of a Summerland business license, fees will not be reduced.

Last year, the municipality provided the chamber with $225,000 in funding and received around $150,000 from business licenses.

“The business licence fee was not covering the costs of supporting the chamber of commerce,” Dollevoet said.

He added that all other chambers in British Columbia operate under a voluntary membership model rather than automatically granting membership to all business license holders.

Ron Kubek, president of the Summerland Chamber, said negotiations with the municipality are still ongoing and details have not all been finalized at present.

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