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Niagara-on-the-Lake
Sunday, October 2, 2022
New Chamber of Commerce board chair optimistic about the future
Niagara-on-the-Lake Chamber of Commerce new Board Chair, Andrew Niven
Niagara-on-the-Lake Chamber of Commerce new Board Chair, Andrew Niven Supplied

Big changes are happening at Niagara-on-the-Lake’s Chamber of Commerce and Tourism NOTL.

On Monday, the chamber announced longtime board member Andrew Niven will replace Paul MacIntyre as its new board chair. MacIntyre was chair for the last four years.

Niven will serve alongside vice chair Betty Colaneri of Colaneri Estate Winery and treasurer Tim Jennings of the Shaw Festival. MacIntyre remains on the board as past chair.

Niven brings knowledge and experience to the position, having served on the board of directors at the chamber for about six years. After taking a year off, he’s back and excited for his new role.

“I feel very experienced in the role,” said Niven, adding that he feels he can bring a lot to this new position.

“I think we’re going in the right direction,” he said. “There seems to be a lot of optimism in the town, with the residents, and with the businesses and the tourism community.”

He’s a resident of St. Davids and is also director of marketing and hospitality at Konzelmann Estate Winery.

He’s also involved with many organizations in the town, like the Wineries of Niagara-on-the-Lake and the Town of NOTL’s customer and experience technology committee.

He’s an active member of NOTL, with previous committee chair roles for the Icewine Festival, Candlelight Stroll and Artistry by the Lake, to name a few.

In this new position, he wants to connect with the board members to see what they’re looking for, what their vision is, and what they want to enhance.

“I think the first step will be to look at a strategic marketing plan based on that member and board member feedback,” said Niven.

He said former chamber president Eduardo Lafforgue did well at setting the groundwork before his departure in February and that Minerva Ward, the current president of the chamber and Tourism NOTL, is doing a great job.

Not only is connecting to the board members important to him, but so is connecting with the community, and strengthening relationships with council and town staff.

The past few years have been hard, but Niven said the board brought people together. He cited the success of the patio expansion project on Queen Street as one example.

“That’s all stemmed from the relationship between the chamber and the town,” he said,  adding that continuing those relationships is vital.

The chamber’s board is full of experienced people from different sectors and would like to shine a spotlight on them is as well.

“We try to draw strengths from various different sectors,” he said. “There’s artists, culture, culinary, and there’s general business.”

He also wants to engage the community more, noting creating the new tourism master is  one way to help strengthen relations with residents since the chamber will be looking for input.

He also wants to showcase what the board is doing in the community with charities and local organizations.

“It’s a very relationship-heavy industry and I think we need to strengthen it,” he said.