Terrace chamber manager retires

A local person involved in some of the key community events of the past decade is moving away

Carol Fielding’s list of community involvement projects included Hockeyville in 2009.

A local person involved in some of the key community events of the past decade is moving away.

Carol Fielding has left her job as manager of the Terrace and District Chamber of Commerce to retire to the south Okanagan.

She was a central figure in local committees struck as part of the provincial government’s effort to first secure and then promote the 2010 Winter Olympics, to make Terrace a stopping point during the Olympic torch run, in efforts to place new facilities at George Little Park and in helping stage the BC Winter Games here in 2010.

But Fielding is best known for her role in having Terrace be the host for the Kraft-sponsored Hockeyville NHL exhibition game between the Vancouver Canucks and the New York Islanders in September 2009.

From start to finish the Hockeyville campaign took nearly a year, beginning when the Sportsplex’s second sheet of ice was opened in the fall of 2008.

“I recall telling Jack Talstra, he was the mayor then, at the opening we should go for Hockeyville,” recalled Fielding. “He just laughed.”

From that conversation grew a local organizing group which tapped a reservoir of activity  involving every socio-economic group in the community.

The December 2008 Christmas parade took on a Hockeyville theme and with 26 floats, was the largest ever, said Fielding.

Various activities and events and preliminary voting rounds propelled Terrace to a place on the final selection list.

That sparked an intensive round of final phone and computer-based voting in the spring of 2009 based out of the former Northern Drugs location in the Skeena Mall.

“We even had the street people in,” said Fielding of overnight voting sessions. “I said if you’re going to drink my coffee and eat my doughnuts, you’re going to sit there and vote. We had instructions laid out on what to do.”

Fielding first lived in Terrace for five years in the 1970s, working for the federal Department of Indian and Northern Affairs.

She moved away but then returned in 2002 after meeting local Telus worker Hans Kurth through a Harley-Davidson on-line chat room.

Their love of motorcycles lead them to open a business in Thornhill which they later closed.

Fielding then worked at the Terrace and District Credit Union during its merger period with the Northern Savings Credit Union, worked with the Terrace Tourism Society, worked for Enbridge along with former Skeena Liberal MLA Roger Harris and then with MacCarthy Motors.

Kurth died of a heart attack in March 2010 resulting in Fielding leaving her MacCarthy job, returning after a period to the workforce as the chamber manager.

Fielding also ran for the BC Liberal nomination in the lead up to the 2013 provincial election, losing to Carol Leclerc who ran unsuccessfully against current Skeena NDP MLA Robin Austin.

Fielding cites the chamber’s building up of its late fall annual business awards and its spring business expo trades show at the Sportsplex as welcome tasks.

“Building up our membership. That’s been very important. And then how do we service our members,” she said.

The changing economic landscape of the region with prospective major developments and an influx of new businesses using Terrace as a regional base of operations creates new opportunities for the chamber, Fielding adds.

“I think particularly with smaller businesses, the chamber can play a networking role,” she said.

One critical area is the chamber’s role as a business advocate to local and senior governments, Fielding said.

“I think what we’ve seen here is just the tip of the iceberg,” said Fielding of the future of the area. “And that’s why while I am excited about the next adventure, I’m sad to be leaving when there are so many things happening here.”