What Will The New Peachland Chamber Office Look Like?
For several weeks I've been trying to contact the Peachland Chamber of Commerce. They don't answer my emails or phone calls, so today I decided to drop by the new location to see what's going on.
The place looks very nice! I noticed a worker in the office, and he saw me, but did not bother to come to the door to see if I needed anything.
As I looked at the greatness of this new location I started think that it looks a bit like it's modeled after a typical “Tourist BC” layout. Then I wondered if, despite losing the contract to manage the Peachland Visitor Centre, that this Chamber would just keep on trying to do that job. I'm sure that the Executive Director of this Chamber would have higher ethical standards that that. I'm sure I'm worrying over nothing.
I do have some questions for the Chamber, however. They may have been answered with today's changes to their website. In the past I wanted to know why they use servers that store data outside of Canada, and why they were using a GMAIL account when their own server emails are just as easy. Even though they never responded to my email questions, it appears they may have read my concerns since today's changes to their site reflect many positive changes.
The Peachland Chamber's new site is up. As a webmaster myself, I have to say that they've done a great job of it. The office Peachland Chamber of Commerce site is a “forward” from Events Peachland. And that site is housed on CANADIAN SERVERS! This is good news. They are using the Joomla platform on a Bootstrap template to create the site. Joomla is a great platform, but can be complicated so I imagine they are outsourcing the work. I am surprised, however, that they are using the US-based MailChimp autoresponder to take membership requests. I also notice that any reference to their old gmail account is gone. In fact, I could find no email address on their site.
The next part is a bit technical, so skip this paragraph if you begin to feel dizzy! The new site is mobile friendly – unlike the old site. This is good. The site loads in 742 ms – basically 3/4 of a second. Google penalizes any sites that take 3 seconds or more to load. So this is another great job! It means they have a fast server. And using Joomla helps!
I would be remiss if I didn't offer some constructive commentary. Having a mobile friendly site is great because 80% of the traffic now comes from mobile. That said, the Peachland Chamber is missing a huge opportunity by NOT using a Facebook pixel on their site. There are 130,000 people who live within a 25 km radius of Peachland and who have Facebook accounts! The Chamber needs to have a Facebook Page that supports the main website. They need to use a Facebook Pixel so that they can retarget people from all over the world that come searching for destinations in the Okanagan! They need to design and develop a series of ads that they can run on Facebook that will attract these new clients. You can't sit idle, hoping someone will find you!
If someone from Toronto searches out and views accommodations in Peachland, we need to be able to follow them all over the net with our ads for Peachland. I am a bit surprised that they aren't using this tool, especially since all of the B&Bs advertised on the Chamber site are owned by directors or ex-directors. You'd think they would want that business.
All that said, I still worry about the ability of the Executive Director – who is also a councilor – to balance his roles and responsibilities. While the Chamber was at the old location there was less risk, but now at the new location you have building owners who might have real estate desires for the town. How does a Chamber exec/councilor avoid pecuniary conflicts of interest? What if the building owner goes before council to propose a new project? The executive director/councilor would have to recuse himself from the debate and the vote. And if that happened, how fair is that to the city council? How do they avoid tie votes? Traditionally, the Mayor breaks a tie. However, in this case, the Mayor is lowered to the status of a councilor with only the power to tie up a project vote.
I'll have to do some research, but I am left wondering – ‘at what point does this scenario become detrimental to the peace order and good governance of this town?' What if a few other councilors decided to take on a similar part time job that presented potential for pecuniary conflict of interest? We could end up with the Mayor having the only vote!