By Laura Steiner, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
Milton Chamber of Commerce CEO and President Scott McCammon is looking back on what can best described as a challenging year thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Businesses have struggled with changes to protocols and subsidies. McCammon feels the Chamber’s greatest success has been keeping their members informed. “While everyone wants to stay safe, the unpredictability has made it extraordinarily difficult for day-to-day operation, including keeping people employed,” he said in an email interview.
The recent limits on retail, and restaurants designed to limit Omicron’s impact are just the latest challenge. He advocates a proportional response, including loan forgiveness, extensions on payment terms targeted towards small businesses. “Provincially, many targeted supports ended months ago, and federally they are greatly reduced,” McCammon said. A post on the Chamber’s website details a $7.5 billion rebate program to help with businesses hit by the most recent set of restrictions. More information will be available later in January.
Milton Chamber of Commerce’s Support of CN Intermodal
The Chamber of Commerce has supported plans to build the CN Intermodal since they first announced plans for the 400 acre complex in south Milton in 2015. In January, 2021, federal cabinet announced its approval with 325 conditions. In November, The Canadian Transportation Agency also gave its approval. As one of the conditions, CN created an 11 member committee for consultation purposes, and the Chamber sits as a member. “This group was established as an advisory group to provide information, exchange ideas, listen to feedback, and address concerns from the community, Aboriginal groups and all levels of government and other stakeholders,” McCammon explained.
The Intermodal facility continues to face widespread community opposition. The Region of Halton will continue challenging the approvals in court over jurisdictional issues. Milton MP Adam van Koeverden supports the Region’s position.
Milton Farmer’s Market to Milton Mall for Winter
Terra Greenhouses Market is unable to operate its winter Farmer’s market. Several vendors approached the Chamber of Commerce about holding one, and they decided to partner with Milton Mall. “There you will find many of your favourite vendors, continue to shop local,” McCammon said. The market will run Saturdays from January 8 to April 30 from 10am to 3pm.
McCammon hopes to return to in-person networking events, but realizes the COVID-19 pandemic Omicron variant may change that. No matter what happens the Chamber will fight for members’ best interests. “We will continue to advocate on their behalf to ensure their concerns are heard,” he said.
For more information on the Milton Chamber of Commerce, including the latest on provincial COVID-19 supports please visit their website