The future of Tastes at the Bay and the country music festival will be under the microscope when the new-look Tomaree Business Chamber (TBC) conducts its planning day for the year ahead on January 19.
Re-elected president Leah Anderson said that the chamber’s role in the management of community events would be one of a range of topics to be discussed when members gather to put forward their ideas and strategies.
“Everything will be on the table for discussion, including events, and the possibility of say merging Tastes with the Seafood festival held in August,” Ms Anderson said.
“This planning day will provide members with an opportunity to start looking at doing things differently.
“The chamber has a fantastic relationship with Port Stephens Council and its economic development and tourism coordinator [Janelle Gardner] and we want to build on that.”
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The TBC is one of the fastest growing chambers in the state, increasing membership from around 40 in mid-2016 to more than 190 today, and last July it took out the prestigious “Most Successful” business chamber in the Hunter.
In addition to increasing in size, the TBC is expanding its geographic area, covering the entire Tomaree peninsula and towns such as Raymond Terrace, Medowie and Williamtown.
At the recent annual meeting, three new board members – all women – were elected: Debra O’Neill, Marcella Hill and Amy Goodwin.
Ms O’Neill, a long-time real estate agent in Nelson Bay, said she had agreed to join the board after seeing the enormous progress being made and the changes being rolled out.
“I feel privileged to be joining a dynamic team of business people who are passionate about progressing business across Port Stephens and I believe I can add my voice as an experienced manager of people and female mentor,” she said.
“Watching the town gradually looking better with the new initiatives such as the Civic Pride volunteers gives me great confidence in the town’s future.”
TBC’s business development manager Peter Clough said that the non-for-profit organisation relied entirely on volunteers supporting the interests of business, employment and education in Port Stephens.
“In addition to Civic Pride, some of the chamber’s other achievements include the creation of a business connect program which identifies five individual business precincts on the peninsula; business speed dating which is a ‘novelty’ approach to networking; and forming a working group to advance the tertiary education project,” Mr Clough said.
The chamber’s “flagship” networking event is the quarterly business breakfast.