The Port Macquarie population is growing and businesses need improved infrastructure, says Port Macquarie Chamber of Commerce president Michael Mowle.
Mr Mowle has acted as a chamber member and board member for more than a decade. He was recently elected into his fourth year as president during an annual general meeting in late November 2020.
"Being elected as president has its challenges and you are involved in dealing with a wide cross section of people in the community," the Hopkins Consultants managing director and chartered civil engineer said.
"My philosophy is to get in and help make things happen. To be involved in the community and put something back"
Mr Mowle said Port Macquarie businesses have had an uncompromising year in 2020, but many have improved their operations for the future.
"Last year was quite an interesting year and the chamber always has a big calendar of things happening. COVID hampered a lot of our events and pretty much everything after March was cancelled," he said.
"We did have a series of webinars organised by Mark Wilson and they did have good attendance from April to September. We also undertook some community engagement with council for a COVID recovery plan for the area.
"Luckily the business community reacted really well during the crisis and there was a lot of innovation. Hotels, cafes and hospitality were hit hard but they innovated into takeaway and online ordering, which kept them going.
"Fortunately we were able to come out of COVID restrictions fairly quickly and some of that innovation such as online and diverse communications has stuck."
Mr Mowle said the Chamber is focused on getting the community reconnected and supported this year.
"We are trying to get everyone reconnected, to buy local and let's make good of those old connections that members have had," he said.
"Obviously we have to be careful how we run events, we want to keep precautions in place but we are building towards holding our normal face-to-face events.
"We can see that Port Macquarie is a popular destination with a lot of inbound migration. The rental vacancies, the real estate numbers are pointing to mini-boom where people are moving to this area.
"The challenge and priority is now having the local and state government agencies to deliver the infrastructure to support the population.
"The key things for us are delivery of the Ocean Drive Project, it's designed and approved. The delivery of an improved Oxley Highway corridor and an upgrade to Gordon Street planned for April.
"We can already see that the foreshore work is fantastic for the community amenity, but the business community need to see key infrastructure such as road improvements in the next five to ten years. Those are the types of things we will be raising with council and local members."
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