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REPORTING · 27th May 2010
Walter McFarlane
Trish Parsons, Manager of the Kitimat Chamber of Commerce gave the Chamber’s yearly report to Kitimat City Council on Monday, May 17th. She had presented each Councillor with a package containing all of the publications the Chamber creates to advertise Kitimat.

This included the fishing guide, which is the most popular of the guides, the Chamber’s Hiking Guide which will update into an outdoors guide and the attractions guide, which contains coupons for visitors and the visitor's guide.

She also explained Kitimat had a greater presence in the Northern BC Travel Guide due to a team up with Dianne Hewlett of the District of Kitimat. Parsons also explained the Chamber published an ad in the Spirit of the North Olympic issue which highlighted the Olympic teams and was available at all the Olympic venues.

The next advertisement is running in the Hawkair magazines and features the events in Kitimat, the Hill Climb, the Dragonboat Races, etc.

“We’re still producing “Welcome to Kitimat” Packages and basically the Welcome to Kitimat Package is a brochure, pouch, similar to what we’ve distributed to you tonight and these are provided to any new residents of the community. We also provide them to potential employees,” said Parsons.

These packages help new people find their way around Kitimat taking them to the various resources in the community. In addition, they have created information packages for children which gives them information on features of the community including the Giant Spruce and other attractions.

Recently, they have also been working with the Airport and Kermode Tourism to establish a greeting centre at the airport where volunteers can greet the flights and provide information on the communities.

Last summer, the Chamber also worked with Kitamaat Village Summer Students from Haisla Tourism. The students had no office to work from so they worked with the Summer Students at the Chamber of Commerce.

Parsons also expressed how they are using the internet to bring information to as many people as possible. During last year's fish derby, students taught the organizers how to use Facebook to promote the derby to as many people as possible.

“You will see from the revenues there, we did extremely well on the fish derby last year. We doubled the number of participants to just under 500 participants in the fish derby. All the reviews we got from people who had attended were very happy with the derby and all the events and things that were available. This year, we’re looking to expand it a little more to include a few more activities for all ages, kids and adults as well,” said Parsons.

She moved on to the tourism committee which has developed a tourism Kitimat Logo to identify when they are advertising rather than using the Kitimat Chamber of Commerce Logo.

“A recent planning session was held and many aspects were discussed. We will continue to work with the District on new promotional materials and advertising opportunities. We are continuing to work with Northern BC Tourism, Travel Northwest BC and the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture to further promote Kitimat and all it has to offer.

A final project, the Chamber is working on is a large display board at the Northern Snowflake which will include event advertising, photos and connect the pull out to the Snowflake with a walkway.

She then listed two problems they are facing with tourism. “The closure of the Marina has had a huge impact. There is a lot of updating on our website that we have to do pertaining to that. Other things that will impact tourism and we have to continue with advertising and promoting is the closure of the ice rink because there are a number of events that happen there which bring a number of people into the community. We have started working on packages to promote for when hockey teams or skating teams come into the community so we can encourage them to shop while they are in town here,” said Parsons.

She expressed they have to deal with costs to maintain their website which was set up through UNBC funding in 2008 and the contract comes up this year. They want to post a community calendar to provide residents and visitors with information on events. This will also prevent overlapping events.

They are also looking into a local dining guide where menus will be published for the restaurants in the community. All of these publications are produced in the Chamber of Commerce and can be updated right away.

Councillor Mario Feldhoff wanted to know how much longer the Council’s Service Contract with the Chamber would last. Parsons replied it would be up for negotiation in June with discussions coming up.

Feldhoff then asked if the Chamber was working with the Retire Kitimat Group. Parsons replied they were working with Margaret Sanou and sending out the Retire Kitimat Pamphlet with their Kitimat based packages. This was also in their display rack at the airport. In addition, they were thinking of advertising together in magazines.

Councillor Randy Halyk asked about how this booth at the airport was going. Parsons replied they are still in discussion with Terrace and looking for a way of getting volunteers to the airport. She suggested the Farwest busline as an option.

Halyk also wanted to know about the tourism website. He wanted to know about the opportunities to advance it and what they plan on changing. She replied this was her priority. She is trying to get fishermen to provide fishing reports on what is taking place on the river. The challenge is the time issue in checking the pages to make certain they are accurate.

Councillor Bob Corless wanted to know what they were teaching in Prince Rupert this last weekend. The Chamber was there training the staff of Rupert Chamber of Commerce helping them get their Visitor Information Councillor Certificate. Terrace and Prince Rupert do not have anyone to provide the training.

Municipal Manager Trafford Hall wanted to know if all the publications came from the contract with the District. They were all part of the Contract.

Acting Mayor Rob Goffinet complimented Parsons on the guides and wanted to know if people from Kitimat can pick them up. She replied they are distributing the guides around town in hotels and restaurants and online. There were no further questions so she returned to her seat and Council moved on.