It’s been a very busy time since the new committee was elected at the end of August. In the last 3 months we have taken on and covered a lot of ground, and we are only just starting to take a breath.
Below is a summary of what we have been working on
With the election of a whole new committee the hand over procedure from the previous committee was a bit drawn out, but we have now got everything in order. We have set up email accounts for all of the committee and established communication channel with everyone. We had to familiarise themselves with the Membership and accounting systems and we gain control of the website, social media and other assets of the Chamber.
In regards to our banking and finance, we have moved our banking from Bendigo in Pambula to Horizon Bank in Merimbula. We have simplified the Membership renewal process so that it will all run around the financial year with all memberships due on 30 June each year and have offered free membership to all new members until 30 June 2020.
We have had 2 Executive committee meetings so far and will have 1 more before the end of the year. We hosted the “all hands on deck” meeting to set up our sub committees which have been doing an amazing job. We plan to have an open general meeting in the new year.
Special thanks to all the new committee members who have taken on roles and to the outgoing Treasurer and Secretary for their assistance with the hand over
Pink Up Sub Committee
We had a very hasty handover from the previous Committee due to a very short time frame. We had set up the fundraising account with the McGrath foundation.
Our Pink Up SC Chair, Tanya Dywer visited every Merimbula retailer personally to get them on board and to encourage them to decorate their shops. The SC co-ordinated all the fundraising campaigns and the Crazy Sale day activities including buskers and Live Radio Broadcast
Deanna from Daisy Lounge almost single handedly organised the Spring Family Fun Day at Spencer Park which was a great success. We are still collecting the last of the money but it looks like we will have raised over $18,000 which will go towards helping fund a local breast care nurse.
Special thanks to our major sponsors, Club Sapphire, Merimbula RSL and 2EC radio.
Retail Sub Committee
Our Retail SC has been busy working with local retailers on a number of projects including the Retail Revamp program which was a full day event on Visual Merchandising. It started with a Half day presentation at Club Sapphire followed by individual store visits and town walk around. Feedback from retailers was excellent and we would like to thank Bega Valley Shire Council for their sponsorship of the program and Karyn Denaro for helping to arrange it.
We are also working on a very exciting concept around a Retail Incubator program which will help small businesses break into the retail sector. The goal is to assist small businesses that might not otherwise be able to afford to rent a retail space, the opportunity to have a main street retail presence.
The Chamber would provide, business and marketing support to each of the businesses to help them develop and grow their business, with the hope that they can move on to run their own retail business in the future.
We are in the process of talking to local landlords about a suitable premise. All things going well we will be calling for expressions of interest fairly soon
Christmas Decorations Sub Committee
This group of elves have been busy working away in Santa’s workshop to create a range of exciting decorations that will make Merimbula shine this year. They had a working bee at the storage shed to sort through existing decorations and another one to make some new hand made decorations.
They have also sourced a massive 5 metre Christmas Tree which will take pride of place in the courtyard near Nosh as people come into town, there are plans for a special “turn the lights on” event with date TBC
Plans are also underway for a special Christmas Shopping day on Sunday 15 December with lots of activities around town. Stay tuned for updates
Special thanks to Kirsty Martin, Jessica Porter and all the other little elves as well as our major sponsors, Club Sapphire and Merimbula RSL
Landlords Sub Committee
This one has been a bit of a challenge. We did try to hold a meeting to get all the landlords together but that proved to be too difficult so we have been communicating with them individually. We have received positive feedback from some landlords and have not heard anything from others. We will be working with those that we can to try and ensure that any empty shops are presented well in the short term, and are working with them to try and fill spaces where we can.
Parking Sub Committee
The Parking SC meet at Merimbula RSL on 16 September with representatives from Council, local business and Ron Finerran to advise on Accessibility issues . We discussed a range of issues and received feedback directly from Peter Newton – (Transport & Drainage Planning Coordinator, Strategy and Assets Services, Assets and Operations)
Over the following weeks we prepared a submission which we presented to Anthony McMahon (Director Assets and Operations) at Council on 24 October. It contained a number of recommendations including some short term ones where we asked for more parking spaces to be in place before Christmas. We expect to hear back from Council shortly
Special thanks to Alan Hsasio who helped a lot in putting this submission together.
Events Sub Committee
We held an initial meeting to discuss some plans for 2020. The Chamber will not be running major tourism style events, as they do not fit within our objectives and we do not have the resources to run major events. We will work with existing events to ensure that they run well and work with our local businesses.
We have recently met with the Jazz Festival committee to discuss some ways that we can work with them to create a better event on Saturday afternoon and evening. There are plans for extra road closures between Beach St and Monaro St with more music and activities. Also working to ensure there are more places open at things to do after the Lantern Walk finishes in town.
We also recently met with the Merimbula Eat committee and have made recommendations to expand the current event into a 3 day festival over the long weekend. The existing event will remain intact, however plans are now well underway to include a number of other key events including a Craft Beer Festival on Saturday afternoon, a Food and Beer Matching Degustation on Sunday night. There was also some discussion about events for Friday night and Monday morning and these will be locked in as it gets closer. The Chamber will work closely with the Merimbula Eat Committee and Merimbula Tourism to help grow this into a major event for the area
We have also organised Social Drinks for tomorrow- Friday 22 November from 5pm at Santa Fe. All welcome
Save the Date - Christmas Drinks Friday 13 December from 5pm in the Courtyard outside MorMors. More details to follow
Streetscape Sub Committee
The Streetscape committee met on 12 September and walked the streets discussing and looking at areas which needed addressing. We had 14 people attend and gathered a range of views and input.
Paula from Pod Gardens provided valuable input about what sort of plants could be used and helped in the preparation of the submission. The submission looked at a whole range of issues including seating, facilities, green space, plants, safety and create a list of short, medium and long term recommendations.
The submission was presented to Anthony McMahon on 24 October and we expect to hear back from Council soon with feedback about what action will be taken
Promotions Sub Committee
The promotions SC have a wide range of tasks to work on. This has included the development of a new brand/logo for Chamber which is nearing completion. They have also been kept very busy posting updates to all of the social media channels and our website.
They have also been promoting membership and we have received 20 new members since the AGM which now takes membership to 88 which is probably the strongest membership we have had in many years.
We have started a weekly post on Social Media featuring a story about a local business in our Business of the Week. Next year we will be planning some networking events and more training.
Special thanks to Deanna Reynolds for working on the branding and Paula for doing the BOTW posts
So as you can see we have all been very busy. Of course none of this could have happened without all of the amazing people who have volunteered their time to assist. On top of our 7 executive committee members, we have more than 20 people helping out with our Sub Committee’s who have not only shared the load, but taking on heaps of extra work, all so that we can make Merimbula shine again.
It really is testimony to the amazing town that we live in, so thank you one and all for your support
Wishing everyone a happy and safe Christmas and prosperous holiday period
From all the Committee