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Added: Fri, 04/08/2016 - 11:06am
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In a recent edition of the Pontiac Journal (March 23, page 40), Pontiac Chamber of Commerce President Mireille Alary spoke about the problems the Chamber has been facing in terms of local business participation. In fact, they had to cancel a member’s general meeting earlier this year due to a lack of participants. Alary also said the Chamber is not approached to help out with as many initiatives as they would like and they struggle to attract new people who can bring new ideas to the organization. 
The Chamber is not alone; many event organizers would like to see attendance boosted and local businesses often struggle to attract enough customers to keep their doors open. These types of occurrences are unfortunate in any circumstance, but in impoverished regions such as our own, a lack of cooperation, participation, and support is detrimental and discourages growth. 
We’ve all heard complaints - or complained ourselves - that there is little to do in the Pontiac and that little is offered. We want more activities for youth and seniors, more playgrounds and parks for children, more events, more businesses that offer competitive pricing and diverse products, more services, etc…, but in order to have all of these things, there has to be demand.
Businesses will not expand and new ones will not open if there is a lack of community support - they need people walking through their doors rather than driving to the cities. More events and activities will not be offered if those already in place don’t have turnouts to justify them continuing or others being created, just as the Chamber needs input to offer services that businesspeople will find interesting and useful. Demand will influence supply – it is simple economics!
One cannot come before the other and effort on behalf of all parties is needed before anything can move forward. Just as you don’t have the right to complain about your elected officials if you didn’t take the time to vote, you lose the right to complain about a lack of services, events, and activities in an area if you don’t attend and support those already offered!
Obviously, there are events that boast successful turnouts such as the Easter Weekend’s Shop Hop Shawville event (page 24), the PAA’s music night (front page, March 23), or the recent senior’s events (page 19), to name just a few.
We need to encourage this momentum to be continuous and Pontiac wide.
Of course, simply participating in events and expressing ideas is not going to pull the region up by its bootstraps on its own - support and investment from governments and outside industries, among other things, are also needed - but showing we are trying to help ourselves by supporting one
another and cooperating is a strong start.
Allyson Beauregard