Bathurst Business Chamber will head into next year with a focus on better representing businesses in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
The chamber held its annual general meeting on Tuesday, with Catherine Fitzsimons (president), Stephen Harper (vice president), Zena Montgomerie (treasurer) and Angus Edwards (board member) re-elected to the board, however, Clinton Blanks had to resign due to his relocation to Sydney. Ms Fitzsimons said the chamber wants to work on representing businesses, particularly in terms of the relationship between businesses and Bathurst Regional Council.
"We've affirmed our agenda for next year and particularly in the current climate it needs to be focused on advocacy for Bathurst businesses," she said.
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"We're going to work on educating, supporting and connecting businesses in Bathurst, but one of our pillars of activity will become representing businesses, particularly in terms of the relationship between businesses in Bathurst and Bathurst Regional Council.
"We're calling on all businesses to talk to us between now and the end of the year about their issues and where they need help.
"We want to put together a short list of reform items or changes that we can take to council, for what needs improving so that Bathurst businesses can flourish."
While Ms Fitzsimons said she believes the economy is slowing improving, she said there's still issues facing Bathurst businesses.
"There's some areas where we're seeing some improved economic data, the stock market is looking a little bit better and there's general optimism because of the news of a possible vaccine," she said.
"But that's not going to change the operating conditions for businesses on the ground in Bathurst, that have been hit by a triple whammy of drought, bushfires and now COVID.
"The things that are going to make a big difference is the easing of restrictions but there's other issues businesses have had.
"That might be around council approvals, parking, signages that they've been battling for years - and that might not be related to the issues right now - but it's really hitting businesses."
Ms Fitzsimmons is also hoping to attract new representation on the chamber board.
"The board has the option of appointing directors at any time throughout the year," she said.
"We are operating with two vacancies at the moment but we're particularly keen to get some representation from a couple of the sectors that haven't been represented in recent years, such as retail, hospitality and trades."
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