The past year was one of advocating for frustrated business owners, Ken Holland said in stepping down as president of the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows Chamber of Commerce.
He saw businesses blocked by roadwork and by street people sleeping in doorways, and the chamber made sure those entrepreneurs were heard from, said Holland.
He was proud of the role the chamber played in helping business owners navigate city hall when their businesses were being impacted by construction on the Lougheed Highway downtown.
The city reconstructed the highway between 225th and 226th streets, with sidewalks removed and traffic down to one lane in each direction.
“Look at it now, and obviously it paid off. But at the time the businesses were suffering,” Holland said.
Problems with street people in the downtown core caused frequent complaints from businesses – typically a sleeping person blocking an entrance.
That has been addressed by a change at city hall after the last election, he said, and those kinds of complaints are becoming more rare.
“The difference in style was day and night. The council now is business friendly – they are business people,” he said.
The chamber held its annual general meeting on Nov. 4, which marked the end of Holland’s term as president.
It also marked the beginning for new directors Eric Mollema of Centra Lawyers and Alicia Peterson of Harris and Leib Insurance.
Other board members back for another year are Corisa Bell, Mike Huber, Ricardo Castro, Ann Zizka, Ralph Altenried, Jared Bissky, Al Hogarth, Jamie Nay and Brian Timmins.
At a Friday meeting, the directors are to choose their next president.
“The experience we had on the last board of directors helped me so much,” said Holland, who was on his second term as president and was supported for his first year by past-president Mike Morden, now the mayor, and former president Ron Jones.