A turf war has broken out between two of Metro Vancouver’s biggest business advocacy groups.
The Vancouver Board of Trade wants to formally change its name to the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade and will put that proposal to a vote of its members Friday.
The Surrey Board of Trade opposes the move as a hostile attempt by the Vancouver board to represent the entire Metro region, including Surrey.
“The Vancouver Board of Trade does not speak on behalf of the region’s business community,” said Anita Huberman, the Surrey Board of Trade’s CEO.
Vancouver Board of Trade chair Tim Manning said the proposed change merely reflects the reality that VBOT has championed issues region-wide for decades.
“In changing our name, the board believes we will better reflect our regional advocacy efforts and the 5,000 members that we represent – nearly half of whom make their living or own businesses that operate outside the City of Vancouver,” he said.
Manning claimed VBOT’s efforts over the years helped lead to the creation of the YVR airport authority, the creation of NEXUS and the rescue of the Canada Line after mayors initially voted it down.
He denied the move is an attempt to supplant local chambers of commerce, adding VBOT provides a credit to its members to encourage them to join their local chamber as well.
Huberman said chambers and boards of trade should work together collaboratively across the region, and channel funding through the B.C. Chamber of Commerce when a regional voice for business is needed on urgent economic and infrastructure issues.
“Individual boards or chambers should not seek to represent the collective interests of all business in the region,” she said.