The Chamber of Commerce & Visitor Centre re-opened to the public on Monday, July 6th with many safety protocols in effect.

  • The Visitor Centre will host a maximum of 6 Guests at a time in addition to no more than 2 Employees
  • Visitors to the Building will see a TABLE in front of the doors restricting entrance to the Building. This table will have pertinent and updated information displayed based on current Health Orders in the Province of BC
  • As of early November 2020 ALL VISITORS TO THE BUILDING ARE REQUIRED TO ENTER WITH A MASK ON. 
  • We ask that Visitors do not attempt to challenge this requirement. Our employees are doing what they're asked to do; please respect that courtesy. 
  • Hand Sanitizer is available for your use both at the table and inside the building
  • Washrooms are OPEN (outside) for your use. They are cleaned frequently through the day
  • Hours of operation are: Monday - Saturday 10am to 4pm. We are currently CLOSED on Sundays. Note that the washrooms are accessible during open hours only
  • Our employees are stationed behind physical barriers. We ask that Visitors not attempt to circumvent the barriers. Please respect that for the safety of all
  • Please notice and respect the floor stickers that are positioned at least 2 meters apart. The PHO orders continue to mandate Physical Distancing in all situations. 
  • Maps, Brochures and other publications are available by request only. We ask Visitors not to attempt to access any of these publications. Please allow us to do that on your behalf. 
  • Please take notice of the posters on our Windows describing the Symptoms of COVID - 19 and please respond accordingly.
  • PLEASE DO NOT ENTER THE BUILDING OR APPROACH THE TENT AREA, OR ANY EMPLOYEE IF YOU ARE FEELING UNWELL. 
  • Please do not leave personal garbage on our property or in the garbage cans. 
  • Please do not discard used MASKS or other PPE on our Property. Doing so increases the risk to our Employees
  • Overnight Parking or Camping is not permitted. Note Signage that does grant us right to have unidentified vehicles towed at owner expense. 
  • Our Employees have all reviewed our COVID - 19 Protocol Measures and all understand the importance of following guidelines as presented, and often updated, by the Provincial Health Officer. 
  • Our Employees are not permitted to work if feeling unwell and if symptoms indicate the potential for COVID - 19 they will be asked to submit to a test and will not be permitted back to work until confirmation of a Negative Result and/or confirmation that the incubation period has expired. 
  • Our Facility is cleaned several times during the day including a full clean prior to close/open every day. Said clean includes the use of a commercial cleaning device (think Ghostbusters) that sprays a cleaning solution similar to what is used on tables throughout the facility. This equipment and product is highly recommended by the Island's largest Cleaning Service 

We are pleased to have you back! 

Alberni Chamber of Commerce - The Voice of Business for the Alberni Valley

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Chamber Directors & Staff Team

Executive Committee

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Terry Deakin

President

Terry Deakin

Terry Deakin is celebrating 20 years of service in the Alberni Valley. She began her journey as a social entrepreneur in 1998 with a pilot project in a rented room where the PEAK radio station is now. Continuing her education while growing the business, Terry completed a Diploma in Human Services, a Bachelor of Commerce in Entrepreneurial Management and most recently a Master of Arts in Community Development. INEO currently employs a staff of 15 and provides employment and employment related services to those who are unemployed or precariously employed. In early 2021 Terry purchased Animal Ark in Port Alberni as a Social Enterprise where people can learn how to work in a retail environment. Terry believes the magic comes from the people who do the work – the staff who provide the support and those who take that support and turn it in to success stories.

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Suzanne Dube

Vice President

Suzanne Dube

My name is Suzanne Dubé.  I moved back to Port Alberni in February 2020.   I'm proud to call Port Alberni my home town.  I graduated from Alberni District Secondary School – Class of 1978.  My family had a small 10 Acre hobby farm at the end of Saunders Road in Beaver Creek.  We had a menagerie of animals and a huge garden to tend.  I grew up playing road hockey, swimming at Paper Mill Dam and riding my horse on the old log train trail. All through high school I worked as a "car hop" at the A & W on 3rd Ave.   In those days cruising 3rd Ave was a popular activity!  

 

I have three grown children and six grandchildren.  I moved to Victoria with my young family 30 years ago. I was able to pursue a rewarding career as a professional fundraiser.  I've raised millions of dollars annually for large and small charities to help people in need in our communities.  I was the Director of Development at the University of Victoria, Pearson College, Victoria Women's Transition House, Pacific Opera Victoria and Our Place Society.  I also consulted for many smaller charities and served on several not for profit boards.    After 25 years in this career, I felt it was time for a new challenge.  I decided to become an Edward Jones Financial Advisor - because I have a passion for helping people.  I love understanding what's important to my clients and developing strategies to achieve their financial goals.   I'm also a certified life and business coach.  

 

It was always my plan to "come home" after retirement.  When Edward Jones offered me an opportunity to open the first and only Branch Office in Port Alberni, I jumped at the chance. I purchased a lovely home in the Echo Centre area. I'm looking forward to being involved in this community. My hope is that my professional fundraising skills and board experience can be put to good use as a volunteer with organizations that help make Port Alberni a great place to live.  

 

Daniel Savard

2nd Vice President

Daniel Savard

Krista McKitrick

Secretary

Krista McKitrick

Michael Moore

Treasurer

Michael Moore

Directors

Crystal Knudsen

Director

Crystal Knudsen

Peter Wienold

Director

Peter Wienold

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Carol-Anne Phillips

Director

Carol-Anne Phillips

Wearer of many hats, Carol-Anne is the owner of Steampunk Cafe, and a co-owner with All Tied Up Wedding & Event Planning, and a Director of the Alberni Valley Chamber of Commerce & Visitor Centre. She is the President of the Women in Business group, a member of the Uptown Merchants Association, and is working hard to improve the Uptown core. She sees a positive vision for Port Alberni’s growth and is putting her energies towards making good things happen. She has owned and operated businesses for over ten years, is a mother of three, and grandmother of two.

Lori Kerr

Director

Lori Kerr

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Dave Heinrichs

Director

Dave Heinrichs

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Mary Clare Massicotte

Director

Mary Clare Massicotte

Currently, as the contract Coordinator with the Port Alberni Community Action Team (CAT), a community-led initiative in response to the overdose crisis. Mary Clare is responsible for implementing the work of the CAT, which is guided by four principals; harm reduction, ending stigma, building a network that supports treatment and recovery, and working to improve all social supports that assist substance illness recovery. The Port Alberni CAT is funded by the Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions and is comprised of a network of over 85 people in the community, including all three levels of government, Indigenous peoples, health care professionals, first responders, and peers with lived/living experience.

In June 2020, Mary Clare was one of four facilitators who was invited to deliver one of the Canadian Mental Health Association programs, Living Life to the Full, virtually throughout the province of British Columbia. This program is an eight-week introduction to Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. In just over a year, she facilitated the training to over 200 people with diverse backgrounds, including the Disability Foundation, and the BC Stroke Recovery Association, both organizations assist people with disabilities by providing information, resources and opportunities for greater inclusion and quality of life.

 

Mary Clare retired from full-time work with the Federal Government in 2016 where she held several senior management positions, in Ottawa and Whitehorse, with the Department(s) of Health, Public Safety, Indigenous Service, and Shared Services Canada.

 

She is currently taking an Online Learning & Teaching (graduate) Diploma at Vancouver Island University, which will eventually lead into the Master of Education (Educational Leadership). She also holds a Bachelor of Applied Studies from Athabasca University, an Instructor Diploma from Vancouver Community College, and several specialized diplomas and certificates in Emergency Management.

 

In addition to running her own facilitation and training business she actively volunteers with the Canadian Red Cross. Mary Clare is married to Ron Adams, who grew up in Port Alberni. They relocated to Port Alberni in 2019, you may see them walking their two Standard Poodles, Bentley and Leo, around town.

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Murray Lawlor

Director

Murray Lawlor

Murray’s (1970) first venture into business was a small neighbourhood café in Vancouver where he also made fudge. A newspaper announcement of the opening of this business brought a welcoming visit from Charles Flavelle of Purdy’s Chocolates.  Murray opened Olde World Fudge in the Granville Island Market in 1979 and shortly thereafter joined RCI with the encouragement of Charles Flavelle.  He then expanded his product line to include brittles, caramel corns, hard candies and chocolates. 

1981 Murray entered into partnership with a fellow with a strong business acumen.  Together they expanded into many market sites across Canada and into Pike Place Market in Seattle.  In total they opened approximately 15 Joint Venture Partnership stores under the name of Olde World Fudge. Murray sold his interest in this business to his partner and moved to Vancouver Island. 

1993 Murray started Coombs Country Candy in the Emporium in Coombs on Vancouver Island, another market-like location.  Murray operated this site for 15 years.  In 1994 Murray and his wife Lenore bought their current location in Port Alberni.  This location was purchased as it was a deserted gas station and is strategically located on the route past Cathedral Grove and to Vancouver Islands Long Beach.  Murray ran both locations for a number of years and since 2013 has concentrated his efforts on the Port Alberni location only.

 Murray has taken his act on the road and cooked at many exhibitions and trade shows in Vancouver and on Vancouver Island for exposure and public/customer loyalties.

Murray sold the Coombs Country Candy store in 2020 to Community Futures and is now enjoying retirement and is looking forward to giving back to the community by his directorship in the Alberni Chamber of Commerce.

 

 

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Teresa Bird

Director

Teresa Bird

Teresa Bird is the publisher of the Alberni Valley News. She arrived in Port Alberni eight years ago, but she has been an Island girl for 40 years, starting her journalism career at The Westerly News. She has lived in Ucluelet, Tofino, Esperanza, and Port McNeill. Prior to coming to Port Alberni, she was the publisher and editor of the North Island Gazette in Port Hardy and a busy volunteer in the several organizations. 

The Alberni Valley News has always been a member of the Alberni Valley Chamber of Commerce and Teresa got involved with the chamber board shortly after her arrival, serving on the board for five years, two years as president. After a two-year break, she returned as a director in October 2018. Teresa is also an active member of the Rotary Club of Port Alberni, serving as president there for two years, and sits on the board of Literacy Alberni.

Appointees (non-voting)

Debbie Haggard

City of Port Alberni

Debbie Haggard

Pat Deakin

Economic Development

Pat Deakin

Sharie Minions

Alberni Clayoquot Regional District

Sharie Minions

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Sarah Jones

Past President

Sarah Jones

Sarah wears many hats in the Alberni Valley. She can be found most anytime at Walk the Coast where she Manages the Business and acts as the Buyer for the organization. Within that scope Sarah also operates her own business as a Certified Pedorthist. Sarah also has a Bachelor's Degree in Kinesiology. She is very well-educated and extremely well-suited to the business at Walk the Coast. Sarah volunteers her time with the Chamber of Commerce and has done so for many years. She is currently sitting as the Past President in a consulting role.

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Wahmeesh (Ken) Watts

Elected Chief- Tseshaht First Nation

Wahmeesh (Ken) Watts

Ken was born and raised in Port Alberni in Tseshaht First Nation territory and has lived most of his life in the community. He is the eldest son of the late George Watts and his mother is Matilda Atleo(now married to Cliff Atleo). He has three beautiful children Tristan, Noelani and Kailand.

In 2007 Wahmeesh completed a Bachelor of Arts in First Nations Studies from Vancouver Island University and went on to become the BC Assembly of First Nations(BCAFN) Male Youth Representative where he also served as co-chair of the Assembly of First Nations(AFN) National Youth Council. During this time Ken was also employed with the BC Association of Aboriginal Friendship Centres(BCAAFC) coordinating a large aboriginal youth conference and supporting in youth and sports.

Upon returning home Ken was employed with West Coast Aquatic and then moved on to Operations Manager for the Tseshaht First Nation. Elected as Vice-President of the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council(NTC) in 2012, Ken went on to serve the fourteen member First Nations for five years.

Wahmeesh is looking forward to serving the Tseshaht First Nation as a Council member with a focus on economic development, governance, land management and creating better working relationships with other governments and organizations.

Chamber Staff

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Bill Collette

CEO

Bill Collette

Bill joined the Chamber of Commerce in 2013 after a successful stint as owner/operator of the Boston Pizza Restaurant in Parksville BC that he and his wife Jennifer built starting in 2004. Prior to that business Bill and Jennifer developed another Franchised operation - 'Mad Science of British Columbia' where they conducted Science Shows and Science Clubs throughout the Province. Aimed at Elementary School aged Children the concept worked very well for the couple who eventually ended up with employees throughout the Province - upwards of 20 at any given time. Before venturing into the Entrepreneurial world Bill worked for Western Inventory Service Ltd (now known as WIS International) holding positions ranging from Inventory Manager to District Manager - Area Manager - Regional Manager and finally holding two different Vice President Operations roles (Winnipeg covering the Praires & Vancouver covering BC/Yukon). Bill spent his early years working at a Fly-In Fishing Camp in NW Ontario where he learned about the world of Tourism. He spent several summers at Bluffy Lake accessible only by day long portage or via float plane.

Jennifer Richardson

Office Manager

Jennifer Richardson

Emily Jones

Tours and Historical

Emily Jones

Jessica Aebig

Historical Events

Jessica Aebig

Richard Spencer

Tourism/Visitor Information Counsellor

Richard Spencer

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Terri Hebert

Business Consultant

Terri Hebert

Relatively new to the Valley, Terri is enjoying the challenge of starting all over again.  A 30+ year veteran of corporate training and development, Terri is discovering new ways of using her business acumen to help local businesses. Working with the Chamber on the COVID Relief Project and facilitating the AMPED program at INEO Employment Services is helping Terri learn why the Valley is such a special place and one she is proud to call home.

 

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Abby Broekhuizen

Visitor Services

Abby Broekhuizen

Abby has  been working at the Alberni Valley Chamber of Commerce since July 2019. She was born and raised in Port Alberni. In June of 2019 Abby graduated Alberni District Secondary School and is now working towards a  Bachelor of Education degree. She is passionate about her hometown and loves sharing information about it to visitors from all over the world. 

Anita Sutherland

Director of Operations

Anita Sutherland

Elliot Drew

Business Consultant

Elliot Drew

Linh Tran

Visitor Services

Linh Tran

Nyia Sutherland

Visitor Counsellor

Nyia Sutherland

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Sofia Sutherland

Visitor Counsellor

Sofia Sutherland

Sofia was been working at the Alberni Valley Chamber of Commerce since December 2020. Sofia is passionate about the sciences and theatre. She is currently working through her last years at Alberni District Secondary School before furthering her education in the fields of biology and chemistry.