Thursday, September 29, 2022

Latest Chamber of Commerce Streamcast explores themes on Prince Rupert Port Authority and its place in community

Ken Veldman shared a range
of thoughts on port related
themes on a recent Chamber
information program
The words #ScraptheTaxCap are never mentioned, but you can sort of sense that elephant wandering the room in the background as part of the latest Let's Get Down to Business Streamcast from the Prince Rupert and District Chamber of Commerce.

The most recent of their ongoing series of discussions with local business and community leaders welcomed Ken Veldman to the program, the Vice President, Public Affairs and Sustainability  sitting in with Chamber President Daphne Thomson for the half hour session that covered a range of topics on port themes, tourism efforts and the relationship with the local business in Prince Rupert. 

Not asking about the Port Tax Cap theme which made for a portion of the narrative of Monday's Chamber hosted Election Forum does seem like somewhat of a lost opportunity towards more information on the topic. 

But the Chamber President did explore other elements of the Port's footprint on the city that edged around the areas of how the port operates and creates employment.

After first exploring some of Mr. Veldman's personal ties to the Northwest, they "got down to Business" as the shows host would say.

Of the Port related themes, Veldman explored how the container terminal has changed what the Port represented and how it has transformed the community and port into a gateway to the world. And how from that footprint other entrants into the marine industry have developed or expanded in recent years.

He also highlighted the employment and economic activity that has been generated by those terminal developments and helped to turn around the economy of the community and increased the wealth of many who live here.

He observed on how the next ten years will be very exciting both for the port's ambitions and those of their current partners or new ones that may come.

"We've changed as a community from looking at you know almost economic survival to managing growth, and while managing growth can feel really difficult at times, it's a better problem to manage than the opposite. And that certainly is what I've seen in my time here" -- Ken Veldman from his appearance on the Chamber program Let's Get Down to Business

Towards the relationships with small business in the community the Port VP outlined what the Port brings to the table.

"Our mandate at the Port Authority is about managing the responsible development of the port and there's many elements to that. It puts us in a role that we're in the middle of a lot of private sector partners that are developing and operating terminals. Operations that are directly connected to those and other partners within the supply chain. 

But ourselves, I mean we're a local business, we're not a relatively small business you know, we're about 90 employees right now But we don't consider ourselves a big business and you know certainly when we come to the Chamber we consider ourselves very much a local business. 

And you know we've been members of the Chamber for many, many years and what the Chamber has provided us is the ability to develop relationships.

It's always been a great network for us to talk about what's coming next which I think for businesses and entrepreneurs in this community helps them design what their next steps are. But it's always been reciprocal, you know we gain a lot of information by talking with local businesses, ensuring that we've got their perspective of how  businesses are going in different sectors and what that looks like so the Chamber itself has bee an extremely valuable platform from that perspective.

For us, relationships is really baked into our DNA, and certainly that proves to be a big part of our success externally but also internally"  

A good portion of the streamcast focused on the Cruise industry and the impact on the tourism and local business sectors. Noting of the  competitive nature of the industry as well as the challenges and opportunities that the cruise sector offers to the community.

The topic and challenges of employment and recruitment of workers to the community got a review, including the creation of Make Prince Rupert Home initiative.

He observed how it's not just port related industries that are finding challenges, but local businesses and services, highlighting the cooperative nature of their shared initiative to try to bring new residents to the community.

"From a PRPA perspective we offered to use our organization an its capacity to essentially coordinate and run that campaign and the assets that went with it. We've got over fifty local employers that have signed up with it, which is great. 

Although, that been said, room for many more, so if you're watching this,  feel free to send us an email and sign up for it. And it's just one example of how business community can work together and share a common issue and efficiently start to address it ... 

I think it's a good example of how we can work together as a  community even across a variety of industries to start to address some common issues and I think that's a really good example"

To close the session, the Port VP looked to the future and the bright opportunities that the Port sees for the community over the next ten years.

The full streamcast can be reviewed below:

You can go over the list of their previous interviews here.

Updates on Chamber activities in the Prince Rupert area are available here.

More notes on the city's business sector can be reviewed here.

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