By Stan Ashbee
Sunny South News
In Coaldale, the chamber of commerce usually holds its Awards and Appreciation for Community Excellence – but last year and this year is a wee bit different, due to COVID-19 restrictions and the like.
“Just before we were ready to execute our initiative, we had restrictions come down, so we couldn’t move forward with that. We are sitting on a pile of stuff – just waiting for a word from the government to open up, so we can execute our modified version of the awards and appreciation for community excellence,” noted Coaldale and District Chamber of Commerce executive Director Colleen Van Raalte.
Last year’s annual event was scheduled to take place in March. “That was seriously about two weeks before we got hit with the pandemic. It was like, what are we going to do? We just needed to figure things out and lock things down. And then unfortunately, it just got kicked back because of the uncertainty of that time. We made the initial decision to just postpone the event and we kept on revisiting it based on the circumstances around the restrictions. Pretty soon, by the time summer hit, it became pretty clear this was going to be going on for a long time, so we just thought to suspend it then for this year,” Van Raalte added.
Now, Van Raalte pointed out, it’s kind of back to the same scenario again, for the time being. “We’re looking to have an initiative and to execute it, but now, not as a full banquet – but, as a modified format of just reaching out to the ones that are recipients of the awards.”
“Now, we’re doing two years-worth, to top it off.”
Van Raalte said the chamber wants to make sure those recipients get honoured for their contributions to the community.
“Since there are no gatherings due to recent restrictions, the goal is to reach out to the individuals and post aspects of it on social media and online to get the awards into the hands of the recipients,” Van Raalte said last month. The idea is to perhaps take a picture of each recipient and promote each award-winner online for their community involvement.
Currently, plans are on-hold and the chamber will re-evaluate the situation once restrictions are more relaxed with the chamber’s desire to move forward with the awards later this month.