Chamber Looks at Big Picture, Pushes Policy

Chamber rolls out cinema resolution, takes action for Trail theatre

Coming soon: movie theatres across the province are hopeful patrons will be back into their cushy seats after the BC Chamber of Commerce resoundingly agreed to advocate for them at the recent 2021 Virtual AGM & Conference.

Photo credit: Dave Heath / Tourism South Kootenay

The Trail & District Chamber of Commerce stepped up to help the Royal Theatre in Trail when owner Lisa Milne explained how cinemas and live performance venues had been “unfairly targeted as unsafe environments without proper consultation.” As a result of COVID-19 restrictions, Trail’s beloved movie theatre has been closed for 11 months, surviving on popcorn sales and private movie theatre rentals for single households.

“I’m very pleased with the local Chamber’s work assisting in the resolution and grateful for their guidance,” says Milne. “The more voices that speak to the BC government about how cinemas can operate in a safe and controlled environment the better. Having a respected body like the BC Chamber offering its support is important; it means we’re on the path to being heard.”

The Trail Chamber’s recommendation to work with a task force to assess the industry’s operations and change cinemas and performing arts venues’ designation within the Provincial Health Order from “events” to “businesses” was passed unanimously during the AGM, held May 28-29. The resolution is now considered “on the books” for three years and will inform the organization’s pan-provincial advocacy efforts.

In addition to the health crisis, the pandemic created an economic crisis that continues to hinder many businesses’ operations. A recent report from The Canadian Association for the Performing Arts places arts, entertainment, and recreation as the sector furthest from recovery on a national level, six percent below tourism.

“One day, this will all be behind usand who knows, maybe it’ll even be made into a movie,” says Milne, who is hopeful the province will follow the Chamber’s recommendation and implement a classification change soon. “Until then, my staff and I are doing our very best to give our guests the magical moviegoing experience they deserve.”

Representing more than 120 Chambers of Commerce and Boards of Trade and 36,000 businesses, the BC Chamber of Commerce is uniquely positioned to know what’s on BC’s mind.

“Through our grassroots policy process, our membership endorses approximately 70 new policies every year,” explains Erika Krest, Trail Chamber executive director. “This specific resolution is the first one in current history developed and submitted by the Trail and District Chamber of Commerce. It will have a lasting positive effect on cinemas across the province. We’re proud the breadth and diversity of our advocacy and policies reflect our broad-based membership in all sectors of BC’s business community.”


Chamber Network Supports Indigenous Economic Reconciliation

The Chamber network is calling for organizations and business associations to take actionable steps addressing BC’s 2019 Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act (DRIPA) legislation.

The resolution also passed at the 2021 AGM, lays out a mandate to engage with Indigenous Peoples and the business community to ensure policies will be effective, efficient, and create positive outcomes. This includes supporting the business through education and mentorship programs as policies are implemented and continuing to grow sustainable economic projects with Indigenous partnerships. 

“Our members’ approval of the policy . . . is a watershed moment,” notes CEO of the BC Chamber of Commerce Fiona Famulak in a BC Chamber press release. “I am incredibly proud of our network of Chambers of Commerce and Boards of Trade for leading the way and taking the bold step to approve a policy that not only calls for continued engagement with Indigenous Peoples but, more importantly, calls on the provincial government to work with all stakeholders to develop a comprehensive, actionable plan that will support Indigenous economic reconciliation.”


The Trail & District Arts Council and The Royal Theatre have joined forces to bring you the Silver Screen Drive-in. Running from June 18 to Sept. 25, films will screen Thursday through Saturday at dusk in the Waneta Plaza upper parking lot. Building on the history of the Auto-Vue Drive-in, which ran in the same area from 1952 to 2003, this collaboration will bring the best in blockbuster and independent movies and more to Trail on a 40-foot inflatable screen! For tickets, visit:


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