The Annual General Meeting of Castlebar Chamber was held on Monday March 2 in the Welcome Inn. The meeting was well attended with representatives present from across all sectors of business in the town.
Charlie Clarke, secretary, gave an report on the Chamber's activities for the past year which included the publication of Castlebar Shopping Guide, the promotion of a multilingual Shop Window Display, the launch of a new website, ongoing discussions with Castlebar Town Council on the redevelopment of the traditional town centre, liaising with gardaí on Business Watch Scheme, and the hosting of a number of seminars and networking events. He stated that a considerable amount of time and resources were devoted to the development of Castlebar Vision 2020 — a long term vision, strategy and action plan for the development of Castlebar. This plan was launched last November and sets out very clearly how the Chamber, as representative of the business community, wants to see the town grow and develop.
Caroline Gordon, treasurer, gave a very comprehensive report on the Chamber’s finances, with a small deficit reported for the year.
Peter Glynn, president, acknowledged that all businesses are experiencing challenging times in view of the economic downturn but stated that this is more reason than ever for businesses to work together to promote economic activity in the town. He informed the meeting that the Chamber will focus on the following three key projects from Castlebar Vision 2020 in the coming year: Town Centre Enhancement, promoting the redevelopment of the traditional town centre,; Destination Castlebar, promoting Castlebar as a destination for shopping, entertainment, culture, and heritage; and Enterprise Development, promoting a spirit of enterprise and job creation in the town.
Working groups have been established to co-ordinate the implementation of each of these projects. He informed the meeting that the Chamber is in the process of recruiting a full time Development Officer whose job will be to support the voluntary working groups in the implementation of these projects. He appealed to all businesses to join the Chamber to provide it with the necessary resources to fund its activities. Membership numbers increased to over 100 last year and this year, for the first time, the Chamber have introduced an instalment plan to assist members in spreading the cost of membership, if they so wish.
The following officers and council members were elected for 2009. President Peter Glynn; Vice Presidents Tom Canavan and Sinead Kelleher; Secretary Charlie Clarke; Treasurer Caroline Gordon; PRO Toni Bourke; Council: Adrian Cunningham, Michael Gill, Colm Hynes, Sylvester Jennings, Deborah Marlow, Padraic McGuinness, Leo Doherty and Maria Staunton.