The Kitsilano Chamber of Commerce voted to merge with the Vancouver Board of Trade Tuesday night.
The 78-year-old business organization will dissolve and transfer its assets and members to the better-known Vancouver Board of Trade.
There were 33 votes and 5 proxy votes cast with an overwhelming majority in favour of the merger.
The decision was what most people expected, according to Cheryl Ziola, executive director of the soon to be dissolved Kitsilano Chamber of Commerce.
She cited several benefits to joining the Board of Trade. “Strength in numbers, if you’re lobbying for a change in government policy to benefit your members,” she said.
Iain Black, president and CEO of the Vancouver Board of Trade, described the merger as an “exciting opportunity” for both sides.
“I believe this is a win-win for the members of the Vancouver Board of Trade and Kitsilano Chamber,” he said. “Getting the voice of and perspective of West Side business is very important to us.”
One of the most important conditions of the merger for the Kitsilano Chamber was a seat at the Vancouver Board of Trade’s Small Business Council. The Kits group of almost 600 business owners was promised one seat on the council to represent their interests in the organization.
Christian Johannson, past chair of the Kitsilano Chamber of Commerce, is satisfied with the agreement. “I feel strongly that it’s a great benefit to our members,” he said. “We’ve taken due diligence to make sure that the important benefits that members are looking for are taken into account.”
Members transferring from the Kitsilano organization to the Board of Trade will benefit from the same group insurance rate the Board of Trade offers its members. In addition, Kitsilano members moving to the Board of Trade will pay grandfathered fee rates for five years.
Johannson said he will miss the community aspect of a smaller business organization.
“The community spirit that the Kitsilano Chamber of Commerce was able to bring across may not be as excellent as when it comes from Vancouver Board of Trade,” he said.