As published in the Summerland Review November 28, 2013
Economic Development is formally defined as the sustained, concerted actions made by communities to promote their standard of living and economic health. This year we’ve talked about economic development that occurs from a variety of different initiatives that are ongoing in our community. So far we’ve discussed sport tourism, culture and cultural initiatives, shopping local and the introduction of new industrial lands.
One thing we haven’t yet talked about is the role of events as a component in a community’s economic development, but with Summerland’s 26th Annual Festival of Lights occurring tomorrow, this seems like a good time to address it.
The International Festival and Events Association estimates that worldwide, the special events industry now includes over 4-5 million regularly re-occurring festivals and events large enough to require municipal support services, such as police, fire, parks, trash, etc. These festivals have an estimated combined economic impact in the trillions of U.S. Dollars and combined attendances that touch virtually every life on the planet.
As evidenced around the world, festivals and events are among the most successful tools available to communities to bring people together, increase tourism, create powerful and memorable branding and imaging opportunities, encourage positive media coverage, and add to the quality of life for those who live there.
The IFEA describes festivals and events as the ‘calling cards’ of a community. They tell people who we are, what is important to us and what makes us different and special. This is what draws audiences and creates experiences. Whether it’s classic Summerland events such as Action Fest and Light Up or newer events such as Test of Humanity or Light Up the Vines (Nov. 30 & Dec 1), we must be original, be creative and be ourselves.
A new and original event has been created to celebrate the lights of Summerland in December. On Friday, December 6, from 5 – 7 pm, Summerland downtown merchants will be hosting the first annual Wine Walk and Shop. Nine different merchants will be sharing their venues with the wineries of Bottleneck Drive so guests can choose their favorite wines and have a truly enjoyable Christmas shopping experience. Merchants will remain open till 8:00 pm. These stores will also be open for evening shopping on the following two Friday’s, December 13th and 20th. These will be great evenings for visitors to enjoy the light displays, complete their Christmas shopping and choose a Summerland restaurant for a delicious dinner.
Here in Summerland, we may sometimes be viewed by neighbouring communities as a bit quiet. Events such as the ones mentioned above give us an opportunity to present another face to the world. Aspects of events, such as increased tourism and positive media coverage, are also measurable and contribute to economic development in Summerland.
Do events have positive economic benefits? You bet. They also help us celebrate special times and provide a bit of sparkle during the year. Tomorrow night is Summerland’s opportunity to sparkle. The Chamber of Commerce Board and staff hope you all have a great time!
Christine Petkau is the Manager of the Summerland Chamber of Commerce.
Mark your calendars! On November 29th, Summerland’s downtown will team with thousands of visitors for what has become the unofficial kick-off to the holiday season in the Okanagan Valley. Visit summerlandlightup.com for all the information about this year’s Festival.
In March of 2013, contracts were signed between BC Corrections and the Osoyoos Indian Band to build the new Okanagan Correctional Centre (OCC) at the Senkulmen Business Park on Highway 97. Estimated at approx. $200 million, the construction project will be designed to achieve Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certification.
The 378 cell, high-security facility is the centerpiece of BC Corrections’ second-phase capital expansion plan and when completed, the new centre will more than double corrections capacity in B.C.’s Interior.
The OCC is expected to generate significant economic benefits for the region, including the creation of up to 500 direct and 500 indirect construction jobs, as well as new, full-time correctional positions when the centre opens in the fall of 2016. In addition, there will be a number of contracted staff on site such as nurses, doctors, dentists, counsellors, food service workers and trades personnel. At this time there are three teams being considered for the construction of the Centre.
In September 2013, Partnerships BC approached the South Okanagan Chamber of Commerce (SOCC) to develop a centralized data base for subcontractors and potential employees to register their interest in participating in the project.
The South Okanagan Chamber of Commerce has now developed this site. The site is designed to maximize the economic opportunities flowing from this construction project now and in the future it will also provide relevant news and notifications of other major projects in the region.
Businesses that are a South Okanagan and surrounding area based supplier of goods and services or those seeking employment opportunities regarding the Okanagan Correctional Centre (OCC) project are invited to register at www.sochamber.ca and follow the Business Registry link. The link will also be available on the Summerland Chamber website at www.summerlandchamber.com under the Business Resources tab.
This business registry is a unique opportunity for Okanagan businesses and individuals to be seen, contacted and engaged by major project leaders. For the OCC project, the business registry will be provided to the three proponent teams on a bi-weekly basis. Once a preferred bidding team is selected in early 2014, the business registry will continue to be sent to them on a regular basis, up until the end of construction.
Currently, the OCC project is on target with construction expected to start in 2014 and project completion by the fall of 2016.
mslAs published in the Summerland Review, October 17, 2013
Last week Chamber staff had the opportunity to attend the 1st annual Economic Gardening Conference. Sponsored by organizations such as Community Futures, UBC, the BC Chamber of Commerce and the Business Development Bank of Canada, the conference brought together economic development professionals from across North America.
What is Economic Gardening? Well, it’s not about gardens. According to the Canadian Centre for Economic Gardening it’s a concept that takes an entrepreneurial approach to regional prosperity. Often referred to as a “grow from within” strategy, it helps existing companies within a community grow larger. In contrast to traditional business assistance, economic gardening focuses on strategic growth challenges, such as developing new markets, refining business models and gaining access to competitive intelligence.
Business leaders from many regions spoke on changing and challenging economic trends, data mining, the new currency of information, staff selection and retention and competitive strategies in a global market. It was an amazing group of speakers and the time flew by. In order to share the information, the speaker’s have made their power point presentations available on-line so if you are interested, go to c2eg.com and check the 2013 conference tab.
The first speaker, Tammie Nemecek from Grow Florida, asked all the entrepreneurs in the audience to stand and then played a short video reminding us of their importance in our economy.
Entrepreneurs are people with a single brilliant idea. They are thinkers, doers and innovators. Entrepreneurs change the way we think about what is possible. They have a clear vision of how life can be better for all of us. Even when times are tough and there are obstacles and turbulence, entrepreneurs create opportunities for success and achievement. They push us to discover new ways of doing things. Risk itself is not the reward. The rewards are driving innovation, changing people’s lives, creating jobs, fueling growth and making a better world.
Entrepreneurs are everywhere. They run small businesses that support our economy and find new ways to solve old problems. They can be any one of us! Hail, entrepreneur, indeed!
The Chamber is holding a variety of events to celebrate Small Business Week in Canada. These inspirational and learning opportunities are available to everyone in the community from October 22-25 and details are available at the Chamber website: www.summerlandchamber.com .
Christine Petkau is the Manager of the Summerland Chamber of Commerce.
As published in the September 19 Summerland Review
Occasionally, at Chamber related functions, we will mention the word advocacy and watch everyone’s eyes glaze over. People are used to having us talk about tourism and visitor guides and flashy new websites – the shiny exterior coat of what we do here. Advocacy is one of the important, but much less sexy, activities that we get involved in. Not so exciting, but just as likely to affect our local businesses.
Why is advocacy important? It’s important because business owners have valuable information to contribute to the legislative debate. Without the benefit of their insight and expertise, elected officials could make uninformed decisions that could have a detrimental impact on the business community.
So one of the services that we regularly perform for the businesses of Summerland is to advocate on their behalf with policy and decision makers – sometimes even before the businesses know that they have needs that must be addressed.
Sometimes we work on local issues, either alone or with another party. An example in the past year was our joint presentation with the Penticton Chamber of Commerce to raise concerns about the electoral boundary changes.
Often there are other organizations in the region or the province who are similarly impacted by policies so we work together to approach decision makers.
Recently we have worked with other Chambers throughout the province, and through the BC Chamber of Commerce, to reach provincial politicians on a variety of issues. One example is the Ministry of the Environment, where Chambers have connected with the Minister to request a review of the amended recycling legislation. This legislation will require all small businesses who print advertising materials (such as a brochure) that is directed at consumers to register and pay fees for recycling. Multi-materials BC, the administrator of the recycling program has now agreed to establish a small business policy and has implemented an interim threshold for participation.
Another example is the phase out of the school tax credit for light industry. This affects Class 5 Light Industry properties – we have 41 in Summerland. One of these businesses has estimated that it will cost them thousands in increased property taxes each year. Again, Chambers are getting involved to seek answers from the appropriate departments.
If you’re a business owner reading this, you may be thinking you haven’t heard of any of these issues. Sometimes these new programs/rules/fees aren’t widely publicized. As well, you’re understandably very busy running your business. That’s why the Chamber is here – to ask the questions when you don’t have time to. It’s part of our job.
There’s a new opportunity to have our voices heard early in October; the Chamber has been asked to present to the provincial standing committee on finance and government services. We will bring forward our members’ priorities and financial concerns for the next provincial budget. Last time consultations occurred the message was ‘balanced budgets’. What is the message this time? Please connect with us to share your thoughts.
Arlene Fenrich is President of the Summerland Chamber of Economic Development and Tourism. All of the members of The Board of Directors serve as volunteers.