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Advocacy a big focus for Jasper Park Chamber of Commerce

"Advocacy is definitely first and foremost, the most important thing for us."
The Jasper Park Chamber of Commerce’s new president Troy Mills speaks to chamber members during a recent general meeting. | Scott Hayes / Zanconti

The Jasper Park Chamber of Commerce has found a renewed sense of purpose focusing on advocating for the business community and chamber members, according to newly installed President Troy Mills.

“I've listened to a lot of our members within the Chamber and then other business community members of Jasper,” he said after his first half-year in the role. “It’s definitely has been a steep learning curve.”

The chamber has always been the voice of its members when it sits at the table with all levels of government. Labour and housing have been – and likely always will be – a top priority for the chamber executive and board.

Likewise, the chamber has always worked on local networking opportunities to give business owners fertile ground to voice their interests and concerns about a range of topics. If you’re a Jasper businessperson and you haven’t yet heard of NETMA, you have now.

The last year, however, has seen the chamber advocating on numerous issues around town including parking at the Forest Park Hotel in the wintertime and regulations surrounding guides working with the IGA and supporting them with the Interpretive Guides Association.

One recent big success is its conversations with the mayor and council to work on getting the proposed municipal annual budget lowered by six per cent, down from 16 per cent to 10 per cent.

Jasper Transit continues to be a hot topic for the community. The first year of public bus service has allowed a period of assessment, giving Jasper Municipal Council the groundwork to explore the potential for purchasing EV buses, along with the development of infrastructure, using the assistance of from the Alberta Municipality Constellation project.

Concerns about current transit usage coupled with the eventual cost to the taxpayers have kept the chamber’s attention.

“The chamber has had many conversations and meetings with councillors and municipal administrators as well as constituents in really trying to advocate on their behalf when they see the big bill,” Mills said.

“They just want a complete overview of where the money's coming from and how it's being spent and what that operational budget is going to look like.”

Beyond that, the chamber is always on top of the issues that are or should be important to Jasper’s businesses. Anything that could affect restaurant patio seating operations or guides in Jasper National Park will always find an advocate at the Jasper Park Chamber of Commerce.

“I really think that we've done a great job … of advocating and representing the membership of the chamber in a good way and trying to collaboratively work with the Municipality and Parks. It can be tough trying to appease everybody and make everybody happy and just trying to find that median route to what's going to be successful,” Mills said.

“Advocacy is definitely first and foremost, the most important thing for us.”