Red Deer and District Chamber of Commerce CEO Robin Bobocel speaks at Wednesday’s annual general meeting at the Black Knight Inn. (Photo by Sean McIntosh/Advocate staff)

Red Deer Chamber of Commerce aims to become community leader

Red Deer and District Chamber of Commerce’s new CEO Robin Bobocel wants to make the Chamber a leading force within the community.

The Chamber held its annual general meeting on Wednesday evening at the Black Knight Inn.

At the meeting Bobocel, who became CEO just months ago, said he wants the Chamber to be a “thought leader” in the community.

“In the coming weeks and months you’ll see us challenging norms and forcing sometimes uncomfortable conversations within our community. I believe the conflict, when respectful, enables people to think creatively,” Bobocel said.

Since coming to Red Deer, Bobocel said he has spoke with community leaders and key stakeholders to discuss the biggest concerns in the city.

One of the most frequent concerns was personal and business safety in downtown Red Deer, he said.

“The downtown sets the tone for any city,” said Bobocel. “If the downtown has a negative reputation, the city will suffer the same fate. We cannot allow this to happen.”

The Chamber won’t sit idly by and will raise questions and solutions to deal with issue, Bobocel said.

Bobocel said he has met with the RCMP and the Red Deer Downtown Business Association and discussed working together to enhance the downtown.

Downtown safety is just one thing the Chamber will get involved in, Bobocel said.

“I would like to use the Chamber as a tool to collect and focus leadership towards addressing a broader range of issues that will have a widespread and positive effect on our society.”

The Chamber stretches from Penhold to the south, Delburne to the east, Poplar Ridge to the west and Blindman River to the north. There are currently 822 members in the Chamber, with 20 businesses joining last month.

“We’re hoping that’s a trend,” said Bobocel. “It’s a little too early to tell what the trends are, but we’re definitely looking at the numbers.”

Bobocel said he also wants to develop and enhance relationships with other Chambers of Commerce throughout Central Alberta as well.

“We have some work to do in terms of economic development in our region,” he said. “I believe we have the right people on the bus, we just need to make sure we all want the bus to go to the same destination.”

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