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Ritchot chamber to expand to Tache

By: Jordan Ross

Posted: 05/13/2019 9:35 AM

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Plans are underway to enlarge the boundaries of the Ritchot Regional Chamber of Commerce to include the neighbouring RM of Tache.

Chamber president Marc Palud said once the expansion is finalized later this summer, the result will be "a stronger voice" for businesses in both municipalities.

Except for a small Landmark chapter with no paid staff, Tache lacked a chamber of commerce altogether, Palud said.

A new name for the expanded chamber has yet to be determined, but the working title is Ritchot-Tache Regional Chamber of Commerce. Palud said any business located in or serving Tache or Ritchot communities will be eligible to join the new entity.

As part of the expansion process, the board of directors has added Natashia Lapeire, a Tache councillor and Ste Genevieve business owner, and Yann Boissonneault, a Lorette entrepreneur and chair of the Tache Community Development Corporation, to its ranks.

Who will helm the expanded chamber remains up in the air. Executive director Fiona Robinson departed earlier this year after just 12 months in the position.

Palud said the board has divided the executive director role into two positions: an administrative assistant overseeing day-to-day operations, and a member relations manager responsible for liaising with existing members and signing up new ones.

The latter position will remain open "until we find the right person," Palud said.

Citing the proximity of Ile des Chenes to Lorette, he surmised a unified chamber serving both municipalities will be a natural fit.

Once the expansion is complete, Palud said chamber membership could grow to 200 from 100, which will allow it to surmount challenges that often plague small rural chambers.

"If you don’t have 200-plus members for a chamber, you don’t have the resources to hire paid staff, which is where the members get their value from: functions, advocacy, representation, opportunities."

Tache mayor Justin Bohemier welcomed the expansion, calling it "progressive."

"If we can cross over and help each other out? Phenomenal."

Bohemier noted residents from the two municipalities already travel back and forth for recreation, schooling, and shopping.

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