In its first meeting back since a brief hiatus earlier in the year, the Manjimup Chamber of Commerce and Industry has pledged to stand by the businesses within the town during the tumultuous period which lies ahead. Newly-elected president of the chamber, Bevan Eatts, said the first priority for the board would be to raise awareness around the Shire and let people know the Chamber of Commerce and Industry was back up and running. Mr Eatts said a major strength of the new committee was the “passion” they had for the town and their role’s on the board. “We have got a really good, strong team with diverse backgrounds and probably the best skill set they bring is passion,” he said. “They love their community and the place they live and they are there to help support local businesses.” Forced into a hiatus earlier in the year due to a lack of interest from the community and an inability to maintain a consistent board, Mr Eatts said it was “very important” the chamber continued to operate in Manjimup, especially given the recent State Government announcement of the closure of the timber industry by 2024. “It is really important (the chamber continue),” he said. “A couple of aspects, one is that advocacy role we can play with local government, industry and obviously the State Government and Federal. “But also just that social network and that connection of like-minded people and businesses who offer that support.” Mr Eatts said the MCCI had been offered a position on the State Government’s new native forestry transition group, expected to hold its first meeting at the end of the month. Mr Eatts said the chamber was hosting a meeting on Sunday at the Manjimup Wellness Centre to try to determine what the community would want the chamber to bring to this transition group meeting. “We are basically going to ask any businesses or members of the chamber, non-members of the chambers, farmers, anyone who has got any concerns about this announcement ... what effect do they think it is going to have on their business and some suggestions obviously going forward,” he said.