AGM 13 November 2019

I am pleased to present my second (2nd) Annual Report as President of the Tomaree Business Chamber on our activities during the 2018-2019 year.

In my view the Chamber has continued to conduct an outstanding program of activities and results during the past 12 months and as President I am very proud of all the people who have made these achievements possible. In particular, we have had a very committed Board who have all been involved with our Key Activities as well as a strong Volunteer Group.

Member Survey and Board Workshop – January 2019:

  • • Late last year we conducted a Member survey to identify whether we were meeting their expectations and also seeking the key benefits from their Membership
  • • We received a strong response and Networking was clearly the standout interest to our Members as well as the advocacy role we play for Business in Port Stephens
  • • The results provided a strong platform for our future activities and the upgrade of our 3-year Strategic Plan

Quarterly Business Breakfast Series:

This is our most popular Networking activity and has accordingly become our Flagship Networking event continuing to attract around 100 businesspeople every time. We continue to attract relevant and topical Guest Speakers.

Each Breakfast is sponsored.

Other Networking Events:

During the year we had several after-hours networking activities including the Annual Twilight Cruise with Moonshadow – TQC. This attracted around 75 guests. Our networking events for the last year have seen attendance regularly around the 75 to 100

Membership:

Continues to grow rapidly and in fact is now around 250.

Nelson Bay Civic Pride Team:

  • • This has been a great success story. Following the Working Bee in May 2018 we now have a group of approximately 8 regular Volunteers led by Margaret Wilkinson and Ian Spight Also many businesspeople both sponsor and maintain the gardens. During the year we introduced Adopt a Garden and approximately 30 local businesses and community members adopted a garden and Plaques which were donated by Ian Spight were introduced into the gardens.

Business Precincts:

This was a new initiative in an effort to better connect with our Membership base which now spreads extensively across the Tomaree Peninsula.

The Precincts that have commenced are:

– Soldiers Point /Salamander Village and George Rd Industrial area

– Anna Bay

– Shoal Bay-Fingal Bay

– Nelson Bay

  • • Next year we will also be including Salamander Bay Business precinct and Taylors Beach industrial area
  • • This has been a totally successful program with many of the Shopping Centre businesses becoming involved. Each precinct has a Committee and they must be Chamber members and led by a Board member

Other Key Activities

Tertiary Education:

  • • The Tomaree Higher Education Working Group [ of which we are the driving force] successfully lobbied the State Government for a TAFE College in Nelson Bay. The approved facility is a new Model for Regional Areas and is called a Connected Learning Centre [ CLC] which provides the ability to increase the range of available courses. TAFE has since been investigating potential sites and is liaising with Council.
  • • Also, the University of Newcastle has commenced Pathway programs under a UNI4You program with the possibility of an Open Foundation course next year

Social Media Platforms:

  • • Facebook and Instagram– We contracted our member Katrina from Kat Garth Digital to manage our Facebook and Instagram pages which are both now very active and have a strong following We also manage the Nelson Bay Civic Pride Facebook page and the Friends of Tomaree Headland Facebook page as well Anna Bay – Next Wave Precinct has created a Facebook page which is managed by their Precinct
  • • Website – Is managed by BYBO (Claire Carlton-who is one of our members) and this is now widely accessed

Business Advocacy:

  • • We continue to respond to Member requests to help and also have continued to support several Business Training programs, primarily initiated by our Members who already play a training role in our community.
  • • Also, we provide a Quarterly newsletter which takes the opportunity to Profile Business Owners
  • • We are also strongly advocating for Smart City Technology in Town Centres and Council is now developing a Digital Strategy for Port Stephens.
  • • Represented on the Reference group for the Tomaree National Park Coastal Walk which has been funded to the tune of $7m from the State Government
  • • Strongly advocating for increased parking and an amenities facility at the Tomaree Headland – The list of the activities is too long to include in this report, but we played significant roles in various local matters and some of these were part of the role we play in Nelson Bay ‘NOW” and the Nelson Bay Civic Pride Groups. For example, the upgrade of Apex park, various

Other Activities:

  1. traffic issues, the Nelson Bay Public Domain Plan, demolition of the Multi Deck Car Park as well as various Council and State funded projects at Anna Bay –

– We have monthly meetings with Port Stephens Council through Janelle Gardner in their Economic Development Department.

– We have a strong relationship with Eileen Gilliland from Destination Port Stephens.

– We also participated on the Port Stephens Council Nelson Bay Citizens Parking Panel.

Bluewater Country Music Festival:

We provided ‘in kind’ support to the Bluewater Country Music Festival which was organized by Port Stephens Events (Anita and Aleta) and Chontelle Grecian.

Love Seafood-Tastes Port Stephens:

The event was staged under a joint committee between the Chamber Destination Port Stephens and employed the Event organizers Port Stephens Events (Aleta and Anita).

Also, approximately 40 very committed volunteers assisted.

This event for the first time merged Love Seafood and Taste Port Stephens [which was formerly known as Tastes at the Bay] and conducted during the month of August and the primary reasons were because August is normally a slow month for local retail businesses and Tastes at the Bay was facing increasingly more competition as more events are conducted in the Hunter during the first week of November .

Board:

Thank you to the great Board team who have been so supportive in managing the large number of Chamber projects

Three [3] Board members moved on during the year and they are Marcella Hill, [ Baby] Geoff Brown, Mel Turner [Workload]

Volunteers:

The Tomaree Business Chamber simply could not exist without our volunteers., particularly our office predominantly being manned by these volunteers 5 days per week. Also included amongst our volunteers are the Nelson Bay Civic Pride team and Anna Bay and Nelson Bay Precinct committees as well as all the 40 volunteers that assisted the Love Seafood. Tastes Port Stephens event

Events:

  1. • The Chamber Board has decided that due to our very limited financial and human resources that we will not be conducting festivals into the future allowing us to devote more energy towards our Member needs including networking and advocacy and business development

Relationships:

We continue to have a strong working relationship with Port Stephens Council, Destination Port Stephens Chamber and the Hunter Business Chamber

Membership Directory Proposal:

We have already commenced preparation of the Membership Director which once completed will provide substantially increased opportunity for our members to do business with each other. We would like to think that we can complete this by Christmas.

Hunter Chamber Award-2019:

Finally, I would just like to mention that your Chamber has once again won the Prestigious Hunter Business Chamber Award for the most successful Chamber of Commerce in the Hunter and being the “Champions of Change” in our Region. We had already won the Hunter 2018 Award.

We will now be taking our chances at the NSW Business Chamber Awards where we aspire to become the most successful Chamber in NSW??

Leah Anderson

President

Tomaree Business Chamber Inc.

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