Chamber History

A group of 16 past presidents of the Sussex Junior Chamber of Commerce formed the Sussex & District Board of Trade for the betterment of the community On January 16,1969 with Don MacVey serving as their first President. Barney London chaired, and 16 Former Jaycee presidents formed the Board of Directors. The first meeting was held at St. Pauls United Church Hall, at that time they had 85 members.

 The Association name was changed to the Chamber of Commerce in the June 1971.

 One of the first major events to be hosted by the Sussex & District Chamber Of Commerce was an “Industrial Showcase at the Tank Hanger on the Army Camp Grounds in October 1972.

 The concerns of the Chamber then were similar to those of today: Civic and Government Affairs, Tourism, Transportation, Agriculture and Rural Development, Airport, Trans-Canada highway, Economic Development of the area, Education, Health and Sustainable Development…Concerns with the development of the Fundy Trail, Poley Mountain and Potash Mining.

 Following is a list of past presidents of the Sussex & District Chamber Of Commerce, and highlights of their term:

Don MacVey (1970)

  •  Promote our geographical centrality
  •  NB Airport Committee for development of the local landing strip 
  •  Create new markets for industries to expand 
  •  Lobby to remove tariffs' from products shipped to USA 
  •  Reduce freight rates to improve farming incomes 

Art Goold (1971)

  •  Establish Board office on Peter Street
  • Action seminar on Board of Trade development
  • Speaker: W P Kilfoil –supervisor: NB tourism (described Sussex as Most attractive community in Prov. – should have a covered bridge in town.) 
  • 1971 – Essay contest -- How to promote tourism -- Winners: Shirley Payne, and Donald Anderson    

Bill Durant (1972)

  •  Speaker: Charles Lynch - chief of Southern News Service
  •  Changed Name to Sussex & District Chamber of Commerce
  • Industrial Showcase was held October to make local people aware of products manufactured here in Sussex area, Premier Richard Hatfield was here for the closing ceremonies.
  • Hospital Closure Public Meetings
  • Southern NB Days 

Ken Eddy (1973)

  •  Public meetings on Potash Development
  • Farm Visitation Day –Dairy, Poultry and Woodlot    
  • Support for Health Care Centre    

Glen Carr ( 1974)

  • Support for Cable TV    
  • Tourist Bureau opened in Penobsquis    
  • New High school should have pool - YMCA doing survey    

Don Allen (1975)

  •  Country Livings Days
  • Speaker: Eugene Whalen, who came by helicopter to G. E. Barbours for public meeting  
  • Office moved across hall with SNB wood producers 
  • Construction of new health center started July, 1975 
  • Poley Mountain Development Ltd. asking for support 

Fred Kilpatrick (1976 - 1977)

  •  Highway Signage to meet provincial standards
  • Town Expansion - proposed new malls
  • Town Manager proposal
  •  Potash mining start to look good - Salt Springs 

Bill Hayes (1978)

  •  Town advertises for Manager
  • Citizen of the Year Award given to Dr. Russell Bryant 
  • Transportation working on replacement of Smith Creek Bridge 
  • Upgrade of McCain Settlement airstrip 
  • Published Sussex Business Directory - 30 pages 

John Buckley (1979)

  •  Revitalize down town -- formed Merchant group- Downtown Business Association    
  •  Reviewed Police study in town    
  •  Sponsored Hampton Chamber of Commerce    
  •  Met about local airport and SMT Bus terminal moved to Four Corners    

Don Drury (1980)

  •  Look at International Airport - upgrade airport    
  •  Tour of Pt. Lepreau generating station    
  •  Local radio station need more power and longer hours    

George Aker (1981)

  •  Establishment of a separate School Board office in Sussex
  • Natural Gas Pipeline information meeting    
  • Don MacVey, Agri-Centre Committee to look at proposed Princess Louise Park Project 
  • Town has community plan for traffic, economy, growth and industry 
  • Proposed traffic lights in town 

Keith Alward (1982)

  •  Princess Louise Park proposal (by Don MacVey) presented to Town
  •  Town to designate 30 acres for agri-centre proposal
  •  Chamber involved in signage proposal for tourism    
  • Don MacVey presented Agricultural Museum concept - moved into federal buildings 
  •  June tourist Bureau opened at Four Corners 
  •  Chamber group insurance introduced 
  •  Chamber brought together a group of independent truckers and acted as a catalyst in forming Kingsco Transport, which obtained the contract for hauling salt from PCS 

Joc Conley (1983 - 1984)

  •  New Brunswick Main Street Program proposed to merchants
  • Business improvement area
  • Tourism bureau in operation
  • Princess Louise Park organized Nov. 20/ 83
  •  Sussex Valley Tourist Association organized (later named Kings County Tourist Assoc.) 
  •  Ensured development of infrastructure for potash development 

George Smith (1985)

  •  Restore Salmon River Bridge 
  • Poirier-Bastarache Report – duality of languages supported bilingualism    
  • Committee to investigate the impact of the potash on the area    
  • Tourist bureau opened in Princess Louise Park    
  • SNB Wood coop project to utilize waste wood fiber in the production of chips    

Lloyd Secord (1986)

  •   Balloon Fiesta proposed (Sept. 19-21) - tremendous success
  • Tourist Bureau opened at Four Corners
  • Sussex & District Community Service Business Directory
  •  Town Boundary Expansion 
  •  Pressure to extend four lane highway from Saint John to Sussex 

Murray Cornfield (1987)

  •  Fundy Trail Committee
  •  Agricultural Museum opened July 30
  •  United Way Committee
  • Chamber Highway Sign at Coles Island    
  •  Regional planning committee - master plan for Princess Louise Park 
  •  Sussex Tourist Association amalgamated with Chamber 

Jack Smith (1988)

  •  Sponsored a meeting on Free Trade
  • Trans Canada Highway proposal
  • Supported Fundy Footpath 
  • Regional planning with unincorporated areas 

Tim Wilson (1989)

  •  To date, Youngest president at 32
  •  Sussex Service Directory upgraded
  •  Canadian Opportunities Investment Network (COIN) program meetings held 
  •  Prepared realistic look at waste disposal for town 
  •  Strong stance concerning four lane highway 

Patricia Allen (1990)

  •  Shop at home program with CJCW - mini trade show
  • First lady president 
  • GST forum -- to allow members & community to ask questions
  •  Public meeting on Tourism -Formed Regional tourism board to be ready for “Themed Region” -Seniors manned Tourist Bureau - Kings County Tourism Association 
  •  Sustainable Development Committee addressed Premier's round table 

David Waugh (1991)

  •  Shop at home campaign - Do not support Sunday shopping 
  • Annual Award for Environment established - Stephanie Coburn - Winterwood    
  • Cross border shopping public meeting held    
  • Fundy Trail neither support or oppose 
  • Revised Bylaws - Purchased computer 
  • Town requesting support for indoor pool 
  • Most active small Chamber in the province 
  • First Annual Fun Golf Tournament 

John Bedard (1992)

  •  Public Seminar on GATT 
  • Partnered with Fundy Model Forest representing local business community    
  • Establish permanent office for chamber - second floor of town office    
  •  Public Meeting with Otto Jelinek: Minister of National Revenue    
  • Sustainable Development - 5 minute spots on CJCW on Saturday mornings 
  • First annual Chamber curling bonspiel held 
  • Premier Frank McKenna guest speaker at annual meeting 

Allison Gerrish (1993)

  •  Fundy Trail tour organized
  • Shop at Home - Home for the Holidays promotion
  • TCH relocation disappointing 
  • Developed proposed walkway along Trout Creek
  • Farmers Market moved to train station

Elizabeth Stark (1994)

  •  Presentation on TCH and Fundy Trail to Government Committee 
  •  Feasibility study on County Fair held in Sussex    
  • Continued pressure to change signage at Coles Island    
  • Participation in Maine/NB partnership    
  • Increased Tourism Staff to six at Train Station
  •  Representation at Tourism Trade Show in Boston - construction of 3 billboards    
  •  Education forum - partnership with NB Chamber, Business, Dept. of Education and Distance Education    
  •  Sponsored luncheon - Minister of Health Dr. Russ King    
  • Increased membership    
  •  Became a full partner in Fundy Model forest 
  •  25th anniversary of Chamber 

Steve Baldwin (1995)

  •  Meeting held on the Amalgamation of Sussex, Village of Sussex Corner, and the surrounding local service Districts 
  • Opened tourist bureau in Train Station
  • Chamber co-sponsored a series of business workshops designed to inform, educate and motivate local small business owners and managers 
  • Sustainable Development Committee presented "Toward the Future" 

Pam Folkins (1996)

  •  Formed sub-committee to give presentation to Town Council on feasibility study of maintaining the Sussex Train Station in the public sector, and proposed usage plan. 
  • Participated in ‘Home of the Holidays/Shop at home campaign’ with CJCW
  • Survey of local business on Sunday Shopping    
  •  Held joint meetings with the Rotary Club, Guest speakers Paul Zed, MP; and Georgie Day, Minister of Literacy 
  •  Lease signed with Town of Sussex and CN for train station 

Sylvia MacVey (1997)

  •  The Annual Golf Tournament was held in September. 
  •  Held several information sessions during Small business week - HST    
  •  Tourist bureau ran with students at train station as well as supporting Kings County Tourism at Four Corners    
  •  Supported establishment of Community Access centre 
  •  New category for membership - home base business 

Andrew Palmer (1998)

  •  Chamber working to encourage and develop membership 
  • Home for the holidays/shop at home    
  • Concern for toll highway proposed    
  • Wellness Committee formed 

Stephen Jenkins (1999)

  •  Tourist Bureau and Gift shop - Rural Riches opened in train station 
  • Membership committee work hard to see growth in membership    
  • Virtual Agent Services - call centers come to Sussex 
  • Letter of support for Wellness Center 

Wendy Osborne (2000 - 2001)

  •  Developed a strategic plan for the Chamber 
  • Joined parents, and other concerned citizens to protest changes to the school district boundaries     
  • Sponsored Star Brothers Circus - Lunch & Learn - Firearms seminar    
  • Hosted Premier Bernard Lord and Federal Candidate Debate    
  • Chamber participated in discussion on highway sign policies and tourism strategies    
  • Economic Committee investigating ways we can assist in economic development in Sussex    

Allan Eisner (2002 - 2003)

  •   Renewed and strengthened relationship with regional and local groups such as Maine-New Brunswick Trade Corridor Committee, Fundy Trail Development Authority, Community Economic Development Agency and local municipalities.
  • Became a sitting member of the Enterprise Fundy Advisory Forum
  • Helped campaign for funds to build Covered Bridge Visitor Information Centre
  • Became a member of the Physician's Resource Committee
  • Explored creating some form of political integration of the local communities
  •  Became a member of the Tourism Marketing Commission
  • Promoted voter turnout in LSD elections
  • Sponsored the Covered Bridge Festival
  • Promoted Christmas shopping at home
  •  Participated in the Highway Signage Committee efforts to obtain new signage for the Sussex area
  •  Helped form the Sussex Economic Development Board to promote economic development in this area 

Mitchell Long (2004)

  •  Fundy Civic Center fundraising 
  •  Mural project suggested 
  •  Sponsored Fundy Debate with Jaycees 
  •  Formed Sussex Energy Plan Committee 
  •  Chamber become full voting partner of Central Kings partnership 
  •  Mural Project to go ahead 
  •  Start up of Kings East Development Partnership 
  •  Chamber Incorporated 

 

Lloyd Secord (2005 -  2006) 

  • By Laws revised
  • Staff hours upgraded to 20 hours per week
  • Energy Park Promoted
  • Hosted Positive Impact Meeting concerning Walmart coming to Sussex
  • Election Meet & Greet
  • ACOA announces Mural Project to be funded
  •   

Kandy Mitton (2007 -  2008)

  • Energy Park Group now incorporated as Fundy Renewable Energy Park
  • Enterprise Fundy gave presentation on Irish Development Project
  • Participated in McDonald’s McHappy Day
  • Purchased New Computer, printer/fax/copier
  • Lunch & Learns – Governor of Saint John Sea Dogs Hockey Club,
  • Beth Nixon – Fundy Green Park presentation, Dr. Frank Wilson;
    President of Fundy Trail Development made presentation
  •  Mark Fraachia - PCS expansion speaker at Awards Banquet
  •  Derek Roberts - Dairytown - speaker at AGM
  •  Newsletter published monthly - Strategic Plan revisited
  •  Doctor Recruitment Committee representation with town, village and Local Service District
  •     

Phil Sellars (2009 -  2012)

  • 40th anniversary - Past Presidents honoured at Annual Awards Banquet 2009 - Guest Speakers -Tanya Warren and Graham Milner RCMP
  • Chamber member survey completed with results to members 2010
  • New SDCC website published 2010
  • Office hours expanded to 4 days a week
  • All financial records electronically moved to Quickbooks Accounting software ensuring continuity
  • Monthly "Fridays at Four" member drop-in initiated
  • Membership fees updated 2010 culminating in higher member retention and increased membership 
  • Annual participation in Sussex and District Home Show continued
  • By-Laws Review completed, updated and annually re-visited
  • M2M Discount Program implemented
  • Quarterly Newsletter reinstated
  • Letters of support given for new Agriculture and Military Museum project
  • Annual Golf Tournament passes the 100 participant mark 2010
  • Terry Cunningham, Product Development Officer, Greater Saint John and Fundy Regions, Province of
    New Brunswick Tourism - 2010 AGM Guest Speaker
  • Bill Jackson, Apache Oil  Guest Speaker at Awards Dinner 2010 - Sussex Legion
  • Train Station Fire - September 2010 - office relocated for eight months
  • Chamber History reviewed sorted and saved to Disc
  • Tom Gribbons - Past Chair of Saint John Vibrant Communities, Chair of Business Community Anti-Poverty Initiative
    (BCAPI) 2011-AGM Speaker
  • Support and membership in Sussex and District Vibrant Communities Committee for poverty reduction and prevention
  • Adoption of the 3/50 Project values supporting local buying
  • Premier David Alward  guest speaker at Awards Dinner 2011 - Apohaqui Community Centre 
  • First "Home Style" Chamber Christmas Lunch, December 7, 2011 held at Sussex Train Station 
  • Continuation of monthly "Lunch and Learn" member meetings with shorter business component

Greg Zed (2012 - 2014)

  • Meet the candidate night to introduce the local candidates in three communities 
  • monthly meeting guest speakers - Shale Gas Development Strategy, Protecting ourselves against Fraud Issues, Heart Health, Insurance against Disaster 
  • On going support for local groups - Relay for Life, Sussex Vale Transition House, Sussex & Area Vibrant Communities
    AGM guest speaker Robert McLeod from Invest NB 
  • Awards Dinner guest speaker Robert Lahanky owner of Sussex Place 
  • Monthly meeting guests - Economic Development, Legacy Lane Fiber Mill, Toastmaster, SACFI, Sussex Sleep Clinic 
  • AGM guest speaker Laura Araneda of Diamond Drilling and Eric Poirier - St. John Board of Trade at Awards Banquet

Greg Keith (2014 -2015)

  • Awards Banquet with guest speakers Jordie Morgan and Alex  Bruce
  • Provincial Candidates Meet and Greet in August
  • Luncheon with Pierre Cleroux, head of Research & Chief Economist at BDC
  • Luncheon with Norbert Cunningham, freelance reporter at Moncton Times & Transcript
  • Home Show booth in support of Sussex Kiwanis club and Golf tournament
  • Monthly luncheon speakers - George McPhee - Purchase of Dairytown Products by Agropur, Keri Marr - Nursing Home Expansion, Matt Moore - programs offered at Potashcorp Civic Centre, Damen Hardie - Rural Innovation Program - Community Forests International, Willa Tomshak -All Done Camping, CEO John McGarry from Horizon Health rolling out new health plan
  • Directors have begun holding meetings to clear up business and have speakers at monthly meetings.

Ivan Graham (2015-2017)

  • Local business successful
  • Optimum Ride, Mrs. Dunster's, Legacy Lane Fiber Mill, Timberparts, Alantra Leasing
  • Jan. 19, 2016 PCS mine closure putting over 400 people out of work
  • Chamber optimistically gets business people and government together to form a strategic plan
  • Hold public meetings getting input - established strengths and growth potential
  • Developed economic pillars - information was presented to Bill Thompson, The Economic Development Coordinator for the Sussex Region.
  • Amazing way the community came together in unity at the public meetings representing all areas of our economic drivers from artisans to manufacturing, from farmers to retail, from tourism to mining and all points in between
  • Confidence show by our business community

Angie Cummings (2017 -