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2014 Chamber Highlights

December 18, 2014

The Summerland Chamber Board appreciated the opportunity to host the new Council at the Chamber office last week. We were able to highlight the Chamber’s key areas of work, as well as some of the special projects from the past year.

2014 has been an exceptional year of new projects and exciting opportunities for the Summerland Chamber, and we thought we’d put together a short list of some of those accomplishments:

  • Summerland Investment and Relocation Guide: From climate to labour markets and education, this new guide was launched in February and helps put Summerland on the map for entrepreneurs and individuals looking to relocated to the Okanagan. Go to the Chamber website to read it online or download your copy.
  • Summerland Business and Community Awards Gala: Held the last Saturday of February, the 76th awards Gala celebrated of the best of Summerland. Nomination forms for the 77th Gala are out now –head to the Chamber website or office to download or pick one up.
  • Tourism website: Summerland’s new tourism website was launched in May.  Eye-catching photos promote everything Summerland has to offer, and the site’s responsive design means it is user friendly on all digital platforms, from laptops to handheld devices.
  • Tourism video: Also launched in May, Summerland’s first tourism video is designed to offer viewers a chance to experience Summerland’s unique features and lifestyle. Visit the Tourism Summerland website or the Chamber’s Youtube channel to watch it.
  • Economic Development Videos: In 2014 the Chamber released five economic development videos. The first introductory video promotes Summerland as a great place to do business, and the following four are targeted videos to highlight specific sectors or opportunities: Investing in Summerland, Science and Technology, Agriculture and Wineries, and Manufacturing.
  • Sister City Reception: The Chamber facilitated a meeting of Toyokoro delegates and Chamber members, to explore trade opportunities between the two communities.
  • Regional Networking: More and more, collaboration is becoming a key to economic success, and the Chamber continues to work to ensure Summerland is represented at a regional level in endeavors that range from the creation of valley-wide cycling paths, to important developing sectors such as wine tourism and agriculture technology.
  • Municipal Election Forum: With twice-weekly questions from candidates on the Chamber blog viewed more than 3000 times, and an All Candidates Forum attended by more than 600 people, the Chamber was able to provide our members and the community with extensive information leading up to the election.
  • Festival of Lights: Despite this year’s chilly weather, Light-up continues to grow and attract visitors from around BC. In fact, there were more than 14,000 visits to the Summerland Light-up website in November.

 Please continue to read our articles and follow the Chamber online to find out about more exciting projects in 2015. The Summerland Chamber of Commerce wishes you a Merry Christmas and a Happy and Prosperous New Year.

We always appreciate your feedback.  Please contact me at president@summerlandchamber.com or Christine Petkau at manager@summerlandchamber.com.

This article was also published in the Summerland Review, December 18, 2014.

Arlene Fenrich is President of the Summerland Chamber of Commerce.  All of the members of The Board of Directors serve as volunteers.

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Festival of Lights 2014

November 20, 2014

FOL-POSTER-2014

On Friday, November 28, The Summerland Chamber of Commerce will host the 27th Annual Festival of Lights and expects to welcome 6000 visitors.

Celebrating the theme “Christmas Rocks,” downtown Summerland will once again transform into a holiday wonderland, drawing families from around the Okanagan.

This year Light Up welcomes  Vancouver rock band, Damn Fools.  Following the release of their first album, “Off The Floor” in 2013, Damn Fools followed their first tour by landing in the Peak Performance Project’s Top 12, and are quickly working their way into Canadian hearts. Expect to be swept away by a heady mix of Rock and Roll, Rhythm & Blues, Soul, and Southern Groove.

Classic Light Up activities include dramatic fireworks, Santa’s workshop, photos with Santa, pony rides, ATV rides and bouncy castles, street performers and the annual ‘Season Sparkles’ art show at the Summerland Art Gallery.  Three ice carving stations will be actively wowing the crowds and a host of food and gift vendors will line the streets, adding to the festive atmosphere. The crowd will gather for the mass countdown to the magical moment when all the downtown Christmas lights are switched on.

After the fireworks, the party continues on Main Street with a fire dance display by Kelowna’s  Kinshira Performance Troupe.  Festival goers are invited to join the fun: wear your Santa hats, your favourite Christmas scarf and of course, anything that lights up! Wearable Light Up options will be available for purchase.

The Bottleneck Drive Winery Association is also hosting the 4th annual Light Up the Vines events that weekend on Saturday and Sunday, November 29 & 30.

Complete Festival details are available at the Festival of Lights website:  www.summerlandlightup.com.

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Election 2014: Community Partnerships

November 14, 2014

icon 2The Chamber is asking all candidates a series of business related questions so you have the information you need to make an informed voting choice.  Questions and answers will be posted here twice a week.  Check back regularly and follow the Chamber on Facebook for notification of new posts.

Question 10: As an elected leader, how would you propose to build stronger relationships with surrounding communities and who do you see as our key partners?  Be specific. 

Candidates for Mayor

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David GregoryDavid-Gregory

WHO: The Penticton Indian Band, West Bank First Nations, the City of Penticton , the Regional District of the Okanagan Similkameen(R.D.O.S.) and the Central Okanagan Regional District (C.O.R.D.)

How: I have proposed a bilingual agreement (English & Okanagan)  between Summerland and both the Penticton Indian Band and the West Bank First Nations. Previously I was involved with drafting bilingual agreements between both Indian Bands and Okanagan Archive Trust Society. Summerland was an important location in Okanagan First Nation history. With respect to improved relationships with First Nations, Summerland has taken important first steps with three bilingual signs and one mural using Okanagan language.

I am currently involved with a heritage inventory, in partnership with the City of Penticton and the R.D.O.S. I  helped to create the partnership between the District and C.O.R.D. with the creation of the Okanagan Fur Brigade trail.

These established relationships can be expanded and improved.

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Peter WatermanPeter-Waterman

We are a major part of the South Okanagan, families are linked, business activity is entwined, transit is now linked and our watershed is a key joint resource of supply for the whole South Okanagan. In 2005 I sought a seat at the Regional District Board table in order to ensure Summerland’s continued participation as a key partner in the south end of the valley. As Mayor I would look forward to further advancing Summerland’s position in the South Okanagan.

The Penticton Indian Band is a key partner in our watershed and we must improve our relationship. I see a protocol agreement to assist in dealing with joint problems and potentials as an important part of being a good neighbour.

Forestry companies are important players in our watershed and we must establish a rapport that will be critical to wildfire management that is so important to our water quality.

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Orv Robson

Orv-RobsonOur inclusion on the Regional District Okanagan-Similkameen (RDOS) Board provides us with direct communication with the Municipalities and Electoral Areas throughout the South Okanagan to Princeton. Having spent the last three years as an alternate on the RDOS Board, I had the opportunity of seeing the value of our relationship.  We work closely to ensure that Summerland interests are protected in the various operational concerns that impact our District such as: Okanagan Basin Water Board, Land Fill Operations, Wild Fire support, Regional Hospital Board, 911 Services, Bear Aware, Sterile Insect Release Program, feral horse concerns.  We are able to define our District’s position, take part in a debate, provide input and have a vote in issues that impact Summerland.  We should have a voice, as last year our tax share to the RDOS was $444,000.  It is imperative that we continue to have a strong voice in the Regional District.

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Christopher Boisvert-GilmanChris-Boisvert-Gilman

As Summerland’s Mayor with an extensive provincial and federal corrections background, Oliver is a key neighbour, with a new jail on the horizon. Guards, administration staff and support services, are potential Summerland residents, employers and secondary businesses. A Correction connection to Oliver is a key partnership to be developed. After 30+ years developing programs and hand’s-on experience as a contracted reintegration facilitator and volunteer coordinator, chairing, founding and participating in BC Community Component Working Groups, my career is valuable for dealing with ex-inmate issues as they arise. This provincial jail will house federal local inmates both male and eventually a connecting federal women’s jail. Our Summerland First Program will not impact Oliver and the same for Peachland. Kelowna and Penticton are only too happy to have Summerland’s money, jobs, and business; they do not wish partnership with us – Summerland Unity not annexation to Penticton is to be sought out! Shalom

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Roch Fortin

roch-fortin

Communication is the key to all relationships.  I believe that our mayor and council play a very important role in establishing a working relationship with other communities in the South Okanagan with a high priority being placed on Penticton.  My goal would be to make Summerland and Penticton a “twin destination” as opposed to visitors seeing us as a bedroom community of Penticton. I believe the two communities have different strengths, Penticton as the urban destination and Summerland a peri-urban destination only minutes from the urban centre. Peri-urban living is one that brings our active agricultural lands, our first class wine makers and our residential neighbourhoods together in a symbiotic relationship.

Building relationships with Oliver, Osoyoos and Peachland is also important. I believe it can be advantageous  in sharing some tourism marketing costs with others. I do not believe in one marketing strategy for the entire area. Summerlands needs to develop and deliver our own strategy.

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Candidates for Council

Martin (Marty) Van AlphenMartin-(Marty)-Van-Alphen

As a Council we need to build stronger relationships with PIB, RDOS, City of Penticton and SD#67 to develop mutually beneficial joint-use projects. We also need to continue to support and enhance our relationships with multi-community organizations like Trails of the Okanagan and TOTA by meeting more often to promote tourism.

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Erin Trainer

Erin-Trainer

I believe it’s important for council to build strong and collaborative relationships with surrounding municipalities, the regional district, the province and valley-wide organizations (e.g. TOTA).

We can do this by participating in regional initiatives with an open and positive attitude. We want to be seen as a community that is ready for new opportunities. By sending our representatives to events, forums and round table discussions, we can ensure our voice is heard. The more we work together, the more we will all benefit.

The Summerland Chamber is already helping to boost Summerland’s profile in the valley and around the province. If elected, I will contribute to these efforts wherever possible.

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Ken Rodockerken-rodocker

I would like to see our community work closely with our nearest neighbours – Peachland and Penticton – in solving shared problems.  This could be done by inviting members of their council and chamber to attend our respective meetings when common issues are being dealt with and vice versa.  Open communication would benefit us all as we can all learn from each others successes.

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Mark SmedMarkSmed

We need to build stronger ties with all our neighbours. The trail to Penticton should be completed and requires the co-operation with First Nations people in Penticton.  Penticton and Summerland share a transit link that will only benefit both communities if it is expanded.  We need to establish better partnerships with communities and organizations throughout the Okanagan.  When I am elected to council I feel one of my roles as a leader will be to establish accountability for tasks assigned to staff and organizations that are funded by the district.  We need to ensure that all organizations are working together to promote unity and community awareness.

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Denise MacDonalddenise-macdonald

There are 175,000 residents to our north, and 60,000 to our south, so Summerland has the potential to build strong relationships with surrounding communities.  There are potential partners that have the capacity, knowledge, credibility, and a history of good financial management as well as emerging potential future partners.  To the south there is potential with Penticton and the economic zoning incentive plans that have been developed; the Penticton Indian Band with a potential newly emerging economy and a shared watershed; and perhaps partnering with Peachland, RDOS or CORD in cost sharing planning staff and future projects.

The Okanagan has engaged in immigrant attraction programs.  It has been identified that immigration will need to occur if the population is to be maintained in Summerland.

Creation and strengthening of partnerships may occur while attending regional events.  Councillors need to make an effort and recognize opportunities to partner in a variety of ways.

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Daniel Papadapoulos

Response not available by publication time.

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Janet PeakeJanet-Peake

I would foresee where there are overlapping interest and issues Summerland should maintain open channels for communication with Penticton, Peachland and the Penticton Indian Band. In the case with Penticton more recent areas to pursue such interests would be economic development with the recent West Jet flights to Calgary and connecting flights on to the rest of Canada and other markets; the build out of the hospital and reciprocal ridership via public transportation. We also would share the ongoing benefits of Okanagan College. In order to maintain the bussing between our communities it will be necessary to build ridership and having a pick up and drop off at Redwing would be one way to do this, as well as having discussions with Okanagan college to make sure the current bus schedule serves the student population some of whom commute from Summerland.

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Robert HackingRobert-Hacking

Council must seek out and take advantage of partnerships with our neighbors, but these relationships do not happen on their own.  Council must actively seek opportunities to engage our neighbors in tourism, long range planning, and other common efforts.  Our partnerships with agencies such as TOTA are now showing results in our tourism efforts, and I know we can co-operate more with the economic and education initiatives in Penticton.

The construction of both the Hospital Expansion and Correctional Center will see many different agencies looking for partners, and our community can benefit from our Council having open lines of communication and a can-do attitude in helping these Regional efforts be as successful as they can be!

I would like to personally thank the Chamber for their hard work this election.

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Bruce Hallquist Bruce-Hallquist

A good key economic regional partner, would be the City of Penticton for reasons of economies of scale. I am sure if there was purchasing of supplies/equipment done together, other than the ones already in existence, there would savings for both communities. Sharing of specialized pieces of equipment and special employees would also be a great benefit in savings and better service to both communities.

Economic development could and should be shared by all in the South Okanagan regionally, as there are spinoffs to each community when something of any significance happens in the region.

The Chamber does a great job of keeping us in touch with the bigger Okanagan picture through TOTA.

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Doug HolmesDoug-Holmes

Summerland already benefits from strong relationships with its Okanagan neighbours and we should continue to nurture mutually beneficial opportunities. Co-operation may come in the form of providing shared services like with the library system and school board, or for infrastructure developments like the proposed lakeside footpath. Council members and District staff need to be involved in inter-community groups and networks, and keep relationships open, positive, and on-going. Relationship-building is the cornerstone of sound management. Like in business, the important thing is to maintain relationships, not just collect names in a contacts list. Our key partners for building relationships are those organizations and people who depend on strong inter-community connections and can provide us a bridge: School Districts 67 and 93, Okanagan College, Okanagan Regional Library, Interior Health, RCMP, Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association, BC Transit, Okanagan Basin Water Board, the Chamber and businesses community, service organizations, sports and youth associations, etc.

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Joel GreggJoel-Gregg

Our three immediate neighbours are Penticton, the Penticton Indian Band, and Area F of the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen.  Obviously it behooves our council to encourage a friendly and cooperative relationship with the elected representatives from each of these three areas as we share some common interests, benefits, and responsibilities.  Building stronger relationships starts with effective communication, but must progress to face-to-face interactions.  I wish I could be specific, but the forum for these interactions depends on the individuals involved and their mutually desired outcome.

Beyond our immediate neighbours, it is also in our best collective interest to establish and maintain vital relationships with communities well beyond our beloved Okanagan.  Much of our amazing fresh fruit production is shipped to Asia and Alberta.  Products from the Maritimes are imported to our town.  Summerland must have an attitude of attraction and pride so that the rest of the world takes notice.

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Marty Fisher

Response not available by publication time.

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John DornJohn-Dorn

The Summerland Chamber is well connected with the other Chambers in the Valley. I would encourage the councillor selected to be the liaison with the Summerland Chamber to take an active role in networking with surrounding Chambers.

I believe it is the primarily the role of the future Mayor to connect with his colleagues at the political level.  The future Economic Development Officer would relate to staff of surrounding communities. We should partner with the Thompson-Okanagan Tourist Association to promote the entire valley.

It is also important to include the Penticton Indian Band in all district business, not just those issues that the district might think affect them.

District should consult labour, arts, culture, farm and business associations early on in policy making.

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Erin CarlsonErin-Carlson

The only piece of transit missing to connect the entire Valley, is between Summerland and Peachland.

We need to strengthen the Valley wide tourism plans that include stops in Summerland. This should be broadened beyond  summer wine tours and a couple of tour busses per year.

We have a fantastic federal Research Center in Summerland and a world renowned University in Kelowna that can and will bring more agricultural activity and research to the region. We can help facilitate this.

Broader than this, we need to market our town to tourists from cities like Vancouver and Calgary.

Most importantly, we need to look internally at the amazing potential we have and capitalize on our resources, ideas, history and geography.

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Toni BootToni-Boot

Response not available at time of publication.

 

 

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Richard Barkwill

A current key partner is the Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen (RDOS).

Right now we have practically no relationship with the Penticton Indian Band (PIB) and this should be addressed as PIB lands are contiguous to District lands; any long term development plans for those areas need to include discussions with them.

Another area where cooperation with surrounding communities could be pursued is sharing the expense of capital assets.  For example there could be opportunities to jointly purchase expensive equipment and share its use.  This seems most likely with our neighbours Peachland and Penticton, but it is possible with other more distant neighbours as well.

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Election 2014: Key Economic Sectors

November 12, 2014

Election-2014The Chamber is asking all candidates a series of business related questions so you have the information you need to make an informed voting choice.  Questions and answers will be posted here twice a week.  Check back regularly and follow the Chamber on Facebook for notification of new posts.

Question 9: What do you feel are the key sectors that are important to the economic sustainability of the Summerland community and why? 

 

Candidates for Mayor

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Orv RobsonOrv-Robson

Summerland is a complex variety of many sectors, not just one or two, and all of them are dependent on people, growth and investment.

Tourism, Agriculture, Industry, Wineries, Senior’s complexes, our business core, our arts and culture all contribute to the unique atmosphere we love in our community.  Our schools, churches and volunteer organizations help make Summerland what it is and more.

The service industry is another business sector that supports people who reside and work here such as auto repair, body shops, rental outlets, lawn and gardening services, light industry, fabrication, home improvement business, as well as contractors, medical services, hairdressers, banking, lawyers and real estate.

All of these sectors are vital to promote, expand and sustain Summerland.  These varied sectors are what thriving communities require to attract economic growth and development. The obligation is on all of us to make this a sustaining and vibrant community. “

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 Christopher Boisvert-GilmanChris-Boisvert-Gilman

Each and every Summerland resident makes-up the “key sectors” of this community. The Environment, along with people came first – business followed. Summerland’s first businesses were Agriculture and still are! They are the largest employer and exporter of goods. Businesses are needed to supply the needs of the people so retailers followed. Only a healthy mix of Agriculture, Business and Tourism involving the Young, Seniors Recreation and Arts communities – appreciating the role of the Environment we all live in, will this community be sustained economically. Developers play a crucial role in growing Summerland. They are an eager group but only when working in unison with the community will harmony result in prosperity including jobs for All ages (Summerland First Program), affordable housing and preservation of our Historical buildings. We all win if we don’t divide and conquer each other for our own benefit or Any one distinct group!

Shalom

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 Roch Fortin

roch-fortin

Agriculture, tourism and health and wellness have driven the economy of Summerland for years.  Each sectors has brought enormous contribution to our local economy however it is important to adapt and continuously re-adjust each of these sectors to assure that they are fully productive and economically viable.  For example, the promotion of agrico-eco tourism that encourage a local farmer to educate young families on how our fresh food is grown and its importance to our daily life.

Health and wellness is one of the fastest growing industries in this country; why can’t we explore the possibility of partnering with the University of British Columbia,  Interior health and/or the private sector to become a center of excellence to do clinical research, studying and explore caring for people affected by dementia long term.

Tourism has brought many people to this town who, in turn, fell in love with it.  As a result, many of us have decided to make it our permanent residence because of its beauty and quality of life. I know this because I am one of them.

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Peter WatermanPeter-Waterman

Industry, tourism, and agri-tourism, agriculture, business and retail are the main sectors. The steadiest in terms of sustainability is agriculture, as it does not respond to the ups and downs of market cycles. Fruit and grapes have to be harvested and pruned, regardless. Tourism and agri-tourism in this community are built on the agriculture base. In my opinion business and retail are in a major change cycle. Big box stores and larger centers are changing the business model. This means that niche retailers, which can service local, valley wide and beyond market demand are changing the face of retail.  Smaller hi-tech firms and high tech manufacturing concerns are coming here to take advantage of lifestyle, and bringing high paying jobs two and three and more jobs at a time. Woven into this, enhancing all sectors is our strong arts community which is key to the aesthetics of the town.

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David GregoryDavid-Gregory

Key Sectors: Include infrastructure (water, electrical), agriculture, the service industry, recreation and tourism

Why: Our water system has been improved, but Summerland still has one source of water: the Trout Creek watershed. Over time, there is a need to add redundancy to the system (ie Okanagan Lake). The electrical system also relies on one source of electricity (Fortis). increasing reliability of these key resources adds to economic sustainability. This community was built on agriculture. Supporting our fruit and wine industry and protecting agricultural land, enhances a sustainable industry. An aging population will have increased demands on the service industry and this will become a prominent sector in our local economy. The recreation sector,  supporting and enhancing parks, trails and beaches, will increasingly become a key sector improving  our quality of life and retaining business.  The Tourism sector and the celebration of our community’s uniqueness, instill community pride and improve tourist opportunities.

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Candidates for Council

Richard Barkwill

According to the website below, Health Care and Social Services are currently the biggest employers in Summerland.  Agriculture is close but the opportunities for expansion in agriculture are not as great as in the Health Care field.  The Health Care field is driven largely by our seniors population which not only provides a stable source of revenue for the people that serve them; seniors also tend to shop locally, increasing employment in the retail sector, which is not far behind in terms of the number of people employed.

I believe, therefore, that the retirement industry is a key sector in our economic sustainability. There are specific strategies and points to emphasize when pursuing this industry that should be defined and promoted; while still paying heed to other opportunities in industrial and commercial sectors.

http://www.city-data.com/canada/Summerland-Municipality-work.html

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Toni BootToni-Boot

In identifying the key sectors for growing Summerland’s economy let us not forget the two primary attractants to our town: quality of life/lifestyle and location.

Summerland, with its geography, climate, landscape, and proximity to transportation corridors, is in a ‘perfect’ location. Add to this our other valuable assets (arts and culture, people, and infrastructure) and we have a strong base to support economic growth, particularly in these key sectors:

- AGRICULTURE: value-added agriculture and food production/processing (including cheese and sustainably-raised livestock and poultry);

- RETAIL/WHOLESALE: focusing on those businesses that fill idenifed gaps in products or services;

- MANUFACTURING AND TECHNOLOGY*: (*information, food, plant, energy, etc.); and

- TOURISM: including agri-, rural, cultural and recreational tourism.

Summerland is not alone in BC municipalities struggling with their local economy. Creating a strong, self-sustaining economy will help shelter us from the next economic downturn.

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Erin CarlsonErin-Carlson

Let’s work to our strengths. On a large scale we that recognize agriculture, tourism and industry are all crucial components to Summerland’s economy and must be encouraged and advanced, harmoniously.

But more directly, we can cater to retired people, while bringing families to the area.  Encourage products and services for quality of life and aging-in-place. Increased demand for health services and the necessary management of facilities will draw professionals. A quick search of hrsdc.gov.ca  shows that over the next few years, employees in healthcare and financial management will be demanded. The potential of Summerland is enormous.

People of all ages increasingly demand healthy food, and quality retail; good walking trails and fitness facilities. Shops, restaurants, and amenities draw people to our community.

We have hundreds of children and youth in this town. Supporting and encouraging Shakespeare Festival, triathlons, and SADI offers so much spinoff that I’ll need another 150 words!

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John DornJohn-Dorn

According to the proposed OCP pre-amble, the sectors employing the most Summerlanders are health (13.6%), construction (12.7%), retail (9.7%) and public sector (7.4%).

The arts, wineries and tourism are important as they are the gateway attractors. New citizens who are the job creators, entrepreneurs and investors most likely visited our town as tourists enjoying the arts or wineries or just being tourists.  Therefore we must ensure these 3 critical segments of our economy remain strong.

The key sectors we need to grow are knowledge workers and light industrial. These new enterprises will allow the district to increase the commercial/industrial tax base and relieve the pressure on residential taxpayers.  With an expanded tax base that does not consume services as much as residential, we can re-fill our reserve funds and eventually rebuild our infrastructure.

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Joel GreggJoel-Gregg

Tourism & hospitality – From the Kettle Valley Steam Train to our hotels, B&Bs, and restaurants, we derive a significant amount of revenue from tourism.
Health and wellness
– The “health” of this sector will attract both young professionals and the retiring baby-boomers.
Retail – This is what Main Street is all about.  Many entry-level jobs are found here and a healthy downtown also supports our tourism sector.
Agriculture – With 36% of our land dedicated to farming and the number of citizens our Research Centre employs (not to mention farmers), our agricultural sector plays a vital role in our present economic sustainability.  If this sector fails, we will be left with a lot of vacant, dormant land with little demand for growth.  Summerland was founded on agriculture and it remains a significant part of our identity and sustainability.

See?  It is possible to be both pro-growth and pro-agriculture!

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Doug HolmesDoug-Holmes

1. Tourism, Culture, Recreation: One of the strongest long-term economic growth trends, the leisure sector should be seen not only for its social benefits but also as a means for achieving economic growth. Communities that embrace creativity and active living will attract people, which in turn attracts business and investment.

2. Health and senior care: Canada has an aging population and our seniors need support. The trend is away from senior residences towards more independent living, home care, and multigenerational housing. Summerland is well positioned to take advantage of the burgeoning home health care and wellness industries.

3. Agriculture and agri-business: We’re already known for our high-quality agricultural products and there’ll be new export opportunities with the Canada-EU free trade agreement, which will remove most European tariffs. Innovative practices and technologies are leading to new agricultural products and processes, and there are exciting opportunities in value-added agriculture (eg. Summerland Sweets).

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Bruce Hallquist 

Bruce-Hallquist

Summerland has a lot of small pieces to the jigsaw of sustainability, with no real dominate sector. You have our Downtown business’s, as well as our business’s in our 4 Industrial areas. Then there is tourism, beaches, our campgrounds, as well as the KVR Steam Railway, sports tourism, the ball tournaments, summer hockey schools, hiking and biking. Agri tourism, with a growing wine sector, is a good addition to Summerland’s sustainable puzzle. Our festivals are a large draw as well. Services such as our hospital, the many Seniors care homes add to the sustainability of Summerland. Last but not least, there is the talented people of our arts and culture community.

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Robert HackingRobert-Hacking

A healthy community has a broad range of sectors that complement each other.  Investing heavily in one sector without enhancing other opportunities opens up our community to economic risk.  Summerland has a broad range of assets that are and can be leveraged effectively.

With our strengths in wine production and tourism obvious, we still need to improve our retail and shopping experience during the summer to help our town core. We need housing options for professionals and their families to attract external investment in our industrial and commercial job creators. Finally, we need to improve our aging community facilities to attract and retain residents of all demographics.

I want to thank the Chamber for bringing these important issues and questions to the candidates, and letting us share our vision and ideas. To review all my responses and find out more about my values please visit my website.  www.roberthacking.com

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Janet PeakeJanet-Peake

Key sectors are:

1. Small Business creates the most jobs and services

2. Tourism and Hospitality. People travel to Summerland to experience our scenic area and enjoy many of our attractions

3. Wineries: They create jobs, demand for agricultural products and have become a destination point, with entertainment/food/gifts and part of the tourism industry.

4. Agriculture- The sale of fruits locally and worldwide from Summerland is crucial to our economy. Both for the primary farmer and those employed in downstream jobs and products

5. Outdoor Recreation/ Lifestyle- Our beaches, trails walking and biking, racing competitions, water sports all create jobs and sales of attendant products

6.Niche marketing in our downtown core creates jobs and brings economic sustainability to the commercial sector.

 ________________________________

Daniel Papadopoulos

Response not received by publication

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Denise MacDonalddenise-macdonald

Economic sustainability requires a municipal sector framework designed to keep costs of operating/maintaining infrastructure and services affordable and minimizing future burden, while at the same time targeting needs.  The civic structure needs to support and develop innovative responses to economic development issues while complementing the commitment to social and environmental sustainability which will lead to business retention, growth and attraction.  Key sectors of importance are:

  • small business – the majority of job growth is created by the expansion of established companies
  • recreation and culture
  • commercial/retail
  • agriculture/agri-business/agri-tourism
  • research and development
  • 50% of Summerland’s skilled labour work outside of town.  Consistent service targeting that segment’s diverse values is needed.
  • Residential development will fall into place as growth occurs which will spur construction/development, enabling Urban Growth Plan to proceed.
  • The service-oriented economy; health/wellness, tourism, sports, arts and culture.   Seniors have specific needs and wants.

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Mark Smed MarkSmed

Summerland is reliant on agriculture so we need to ensure that our farmers and agritourism based businesses are supported.  Our Industrial land will start to draw investors since Penticton is largely at capacity.  Citizens want to maintain an image of Summerland that attracted them here. We need to find compromise to bring all parties together on common issues of land use and lifestyle.

The new bus route to Summerland has proven to be very successful.  Increased frequency of buses would attract people to Summerland who want access to a larger centre, and we need to ensure we work with the Chamber to promote Summerland to our neighbors to the south. This will work well with densification of the downtown core.

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Ken Rodockerken-rodocker

1. The key sectors important to the economic sustainability of our Summerland Community are:

- Tourism – important to have visitors from around the world spend their tourism dollar in Summerland

- Local small business – our local businesses pay taxes, or rent, and employ Summerland residents who in turn spend money in Summerland

- Industry – again, a tax revenue base, local jobs and subsequent local spending

2. I would like to see our community work closely with our nearest neighbours – Peachland and Penticton – in solving shared problems.  This could be done by inviting members of their council and chamber to attend our respective meetings when common issues are being dealt with and vice versa.  Open communication would benefit us all as we can all learn from each others successes.

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Erin-TrainerErin Trainer

The fruit and wine industries are key sectors to Summerland’s sustainability. Our fruit is sold to domestic and international retailers, and there’s more room to grow. In addition, with the Pacific Agri-Food Research Centre located here, Summerland is in a great position to become a national leader in food science and technology.

Retail is also a key sector. Main Street has many boutique shops with quality products. If we can attract more unique stores to our downtown, we can create a “destination” shopping experience for people from all over.

In the future, Summerland can certainly become a health and wellness centre. We’ve already got health care professionals and services, a growing network of trails and biking routes, annual events (Granfondo and Test of Humanity) and gyms (including a new yoga studio!) Let’s build on this. The health and wellness sector is booming, and is something Summerland should embrace.

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Martin (Marty) Van Alphen

Martin-(Marty)-Van-Alphen

The key sectors that are important to the Economic Sustainability of Summerland are;- Agri-tourism, Industry, Seniors Services and Housing. Agri-Tourism is a growing sector as it is about the Vineyards, Tours, Shops and Tasting rooms for grape wine, fruit wine and now Ciders. The potential growth in any of these areas is unlimited. This Council has expanded and enhanced the Bentley Road Industrial Area, this property is ready to go and needs to be aggressively marketed. We have long term Industries such as Range Rider, Arrow, Ripley’s Stainless, Summerland Redi-Mix, SunView Industries and Alder Street Auto Body that have all managed to sustain viable businesses. An often overlooked key area that is important to Summerland’s Economic sustainability is Senior’s Services. In 2012 our Senior population was 27.3% of the total and it is growing. The services required for Seniors are in areas of Health Care, Accomodation and Support Staff. Housing must be all-inclusive however we desperately need Market Entry housing for the younger people to work in Agri-Tourism, Industry and Seniors Services.

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Election 2014: Affordable Housing

November 7, 2014

Election-2014The Chamber is asking all candidates a series of business related questions so you have the information you need to make an informed voting choice.  Questions and answers will be posted here twice a week.  Check back regularly and follow the Chamber on Facebook for notification of new posts.

Question 8: Our community needs to attract young families, young entrepreneurs and their workers to ensure our economic sustainability.  They want affordable market-entry homes close to shopping, schools, recreation facilities and parks.  Give specific examples of how we can achieve this.  

Candidates for Mayor

Roch Fortinroch-fortin

Retaining the young families currently living in Summerland and attracting new young entrepreneurs should be a high priority of council.  There is a need for alternate forms of housing which could include apartment rental units and housing co-operatives.  There is a need to consider new approaches to assisting first time home buyers.  The world has many examples of housing programs ranging from Sweat Equity Programs and Expandable Housing Projects to Long Term Rent to Own Programs. 

More importantly  we need to create fair wage jobs for Summerlanders.  Without jobs we will loose the future resourcefulness and  energy our young provide.

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Peter WatermanPeter-Waterman

There are several definitions affordable market-entry homes, affordable housing as well as social housing. The true definition of affordable housing is when housing costs absorb no more than thirty percent of gross income. Many people don’t clearly understand what affordable housing means. Market entry implies the lower end of the prices in a given market area, but what meets the definition of true “affordable housing” is entirely dependent on the financial means of the buyer. Social housing is another area and implies some sort of support from government or organizations.

In Summerland we have potentially 210 infill lots. Infill is possible as most of the older residential lots were developed when septic was the only option, older lots are much larger. Houses built on infill lots can be smaller, potentially lower in cost. In addition 319 potential multi-family units were identified as units that were likely to be developed.

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Orv RobsonOrv-Robson

Our growth rate from 1996 has been less than 1% per year.  This contributes to our reduced school enrollment as well as other serious challenges. Young people and entrepreneurs are not moving here because our housing costs are higher than most of the Okanagan Valley, they get better value elsewhere.  Our sprawl to the hillsides has raised our development cost to the point where young families can’t afford what is available. Many of our employees, professionals and laborers live outside our community and commute to work here.  We need to have a neighborhood area for growth to develop which will provide entry level homes for families, close to the core and our services.  Developing near our core will cost significantly less in construction and maintenance.

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Christopher Boisvert-GilmanChris-Boisvert-Gilman

“UNITY” means that we need to attract young/older Agricultural families who are entrepreneurs; young/older Developers who are entrepreneurs with families; young/older Environmentalist who are entrepreneurs with familes; young/older Artist who are entrepreneurs with familes; young/older Tourist based families who are entrepreneurs; young/older Business who are entrepreneurs with familes; young/older Young who are entrepreneurs with familes; and finally young/older Seniors who are entrepreneurs with familes. Establishing a UNITED community makes for economic sustainability. Let us not exclude attracting anyone as a business and remember that a business is only as good as its local Summerland supporters!

SUMMERLAND is FIRST in its attract ability, its God-given outdoor recreation facilities parks, trails and beauty.

Affordable Housing compared to Surrey is not realistic anywhere except in Surrey. Summerland is not, nor should it be a duplicate of Penticton’s Affordable Housing.

Young/older entrepreneurs of whatever type, must join with the residents and be creative!

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David GregoryDavid-Gregory

 DENSIFICATION: Summerland simply is not doing this. We have not had a three or four storey building in six years. When there is an opportunity for densification, it should be encouraged. Decisions like a one storey library on Main Street should not happen.

AFFORDABLE HOUSING: The cost of housing comes from , construction costs, land costs and  taxes. Modular construction, leased  District land and a special neighbourhood tax rate, is the most effective method of minimizing housing costs. There is some municipally owned property where this approach could be used close to the downtown core.

SPECIFIC EXAMPLES: Former RCMP station, re-zone packinghouse lands for multi-storey residences, in-filling in many downtown core lands, high density Strafehl property, Cartwright Mountain. I am not a supporter of selling off Wharton street lands, but if the right offer is given, I would consider it. Financial incentives can be given to encourage densification.

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Candidates for Council

Martin (Marty) Van AlphenMartin-(Marty)-Van-Alphen

In order to attract young families, young entrepreneurs and their workers to our community we need to have specific and appropriate zoning in place to provide market entry housing. As well as improve upon our strategies for in-fill, carrige houses, rentals and building multi-level in the downtown core with the goal of bringing people closer to shopping, schools and recreation facilities.  

 

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Richard Barkwill

The demographics of Canada as whole change with time and Summerland simply represents what Canada in general is going through with a very low birth rate and growth largely supplemented by immigration.

Unfortunately, most immigrants prefer to live in large urban centers, not places like Summerland.  Also, we are not an oil patch town with more jobs than people.

We can however, attract knowledge workers who come here for the rural lifestyle.  These people look for safe communities with things like trails, and swimming pools and arenas for their children. I would make trail development a priority and work on funding to make sure our pool and arena do not degenerate.

But we cannot discount the value of attracting older citizens.  When looking for new homes they are largely choosing between the gulf coast and the Okanagan. New retirees can make huge contribution to our community, both financially and from a quality of life aspect.

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Toni BootToni-Boot

Firstly, I agree that Summerland needs to attract and retain new people to Summerland. Certainly young families and young entrepreneurs are part of this equation, but the older demographic contributes to economic sustainability as well: they create market demands for products and services and, potentially, have financial resources to invest in our community. They too require housing and want to enjoy Summerland’s amenities.

Residential zoning in the downtown core includes areas for high-density development. An expansion of our transit system effectively includes areas outside of the downtown core as well.

I suggest we should examine rental options for young newcomers particularly entrepreneurs who want to invest their time and funds into getting their business up and running.

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Erin CarlsonErin-Carlson

 

Response not received by publication

 

 

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John DornJohn-Dorn

Lease the municipally owned land at the Kelly Care and RCMP sites to provide multi-family entry level housing to be managed by a local housing society.  Funding is routinely available from senior levels of government to fund projects that have completed the necessary “needs and demand” study and are “shovel-ready”. This would bring young families who will spend money downtown and fill the schools. These sites are an eye-sore. Some want to liquidate municipal assets. I do not believe we are at the “burn the furniture to keep warm” stage.

There have been no multi-story buildings erected in Summerland for the last 6 years. If developers see by example that there is a market for entry level housing, and are supported by council, they will invest.

District needs to revise the Official Community Plan and leave it alone.  Developers are fed up with the OCP “goal posts” constantly moving.

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Joel GreggJoel-Gregg

As a young(er) entrepreneur with a family, I can relate and empathize.  We chose Summerland close to 10 years ago as the town we wanted to settle into and raise our family.  Our first home in Summerland was in the present Rose Cottage Medical building across from the high school.  We enjoyed being able to stroll to the park, the library, and our work.  Some of my fellow candidates believe that the future of Summerland is in developing high-density housing in our downtown core and then allowing for development on our hillsides.  Young families do not want to live in a 4th floor condo and cannot afford a hillside home.  They want a reasonable home with a low-maintenance yard and the closer to parks/shops/school the better.  Housing is a key factor in attracting new residents and appropriate zoning will allow flexibility in meeting future demands.  Please vote for flexibility and prosperity!

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Doug HolmesDoug-Holmes

I don’t share the assumption Summerland is a community in decline. Canada as a whole has an aging population, and we’re fortunate so many people choose to retire here and contribute to the community and local economy. As for attracting younger people, it again comes down to quality of life. Many people work in Penticton or Kelowna but choose to live in Summerland, not because they like commuting but because family life is better here. Summerland provides a safe environment, excellent schools and affordable housing close to amenities. The average price for a downtown home is $252,000, which is competitive for the Okanagan. We need to continue promoting a good mix of housing options, including rental housing. And we need investment in facilities and youth programs. The municipality should partner with a wider range of providers, and support for programs should be based on more objective criteria and transparent processes.

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Bruce HallquistBruce-Hallquist

The current Council is trying to address this situation through the proposed future growth plan,we need some affordable market-entry homes and the only way of doing that is making new land available either very close to or where the services already are. Infilling and hillside development doesn’t provide that opportunity as evidenced by our lack of meaningful growth in the past 15 years, only 696 new people. A decent supply of properly zoned lands for residential ,commercial and industrial purposes will go along way to helping attract the young families etc. We also need to maintain or enhance recreational facilities, and other services for young families.

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Robert HackingRobert-Hacking

Sustainable communities build on their strengths, and Summerland has key strengths in a compact town core with community amenities and key infrastructure nearby.  Providing full services to new residential areas on the hills and outside the core is prohibitively expensive.  The closer we build to the services that already exist, the far greater we leverage the investment your tax dollars have already paid for!  Market-entry housing demands minimal cost-to-service, efficient design and appropriate density.  It does not demand scenic views, large houses, or large lots.  As a market-entry homeowner myself, I experienced the incredible challenge small business entrepreneurs and their families have in buying a home here.  I am a strong supporter of efforts to make home ownership more accessible to professionals and their families in this community through planned residential growth areas near our existing services.

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Janet Peake
Janet-Peake

The property where the old RCMP building was located could be used for entry level housing. The infilling of vacant land in Summerland would also be a possibility. Naturally property that is already in the area serviced by water and sewer is less expensive to build on.

Densification of the serviced core creates a more walkable community , with more vibrancy evident as people go about their daily lives. This type of community is more friendly and since more people are on the streets it invites niche market businesses and entrepreneurs. There is ample evidence of this throughout the world.

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Daniel Papadopoulos

 

Response not received by publication

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Denise MacDonalddenise-macdonald

 

Affordable housing must be understood as either market or non-market affordable.

The private sector/market has and will continue to determine and deliver all housing types, including affordable, with some non-profit organizations managing construction and operation of affordable housing.  As real estate prices climb beyond reach of many residents, the construction industry cannot easily supply market affordable housing.

To attain affordability local government and private sector must come up with a realistic plan with a range of strategies to allow flexibility over time.  Ideally the plan should be supported by the community, adopted into the OCP, and enabled by zoning, bylaws, and regulations.  Clear, reasonable, accessible, consistent planning results in:

  • Tangible framework for developers of potential opportunities
  • Confident investment while minimizing future community conflict

Many communities are struggling with this issue; no ‘one size fits all’ solution will work.

Plans must be tailored to fit Summerland’s obstacles and opportunities.

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Mark SmedMarkSmed

We need to increase densification of the downtown core and improve transportation routes with more access to busing.  There are a considerable amount of land and opportunities available in Summerland and council needs to be open to change.

 

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Ken Rodockerken-rodocker

By bringing our wineries to the downtown area, we would be creating a hub of interest and an influx of off-season business.  We would soon become one of the most desirable places to live in the Okanagan.  It is easy to attract new business and new famlies to a successful town.  This leaves us with a great opportunity to create level entry home projects in appropriate areas of town.

 

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Erin TrainerErin-Trainer

Summerland needs to attract more people in general. Focusing on young families and entrepreneurs is important (I am one of those!) but I think efforts to attract this demographic should be combined with efforts to attract recent retirees who also bring life, energy, skills and business to our town. Some of them need affordable homes too! 

With regards to achieving more affordable market-entry housing: I believe council should continue to support housing developments that include smaller homes and rental units. This can be done by infilling current lots around the core – both residential (ex. allowing carriage homes) and multi-storey residential/commercial mixes (ex. Wharton St). Perhaps council could consider incentives for these types of developments.

 


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Watch: 2014 All Candidates Forum

November 6, 2014

The Summerland Chamber of Commerce and the Summerland Review co-hosted the All Candidates Forum on November 4 at the Summerland Secondary School, where the five Mayoral candidates and 15 of the Council candidates answered questions. The event was moderated by local business consultant, Wilfred Barranoik, and attended by more than 600 community members. Selected questions were chosen by the Moderator and the Editor of the Summerland Review.

The Chamber and The Summerland Review would like to thank all of the candidates for attending and sharing their visions of Summerland’s future with the community. We thank Mr. Barranoik for volunteering his time to moderate the event, and  Summerland Secondary School for the use of their gym. Thanks to the Summerland Baptist Church for their help with the sound, and to Craig Meadow for managing the sound system all evening. Finally, thank you to Petkau Information Technology for volunteering to record the event.

If you were not able to attend the November 4 forum, the videos have been broken into parts: 2 parts for the Mayoral Candidates and 4 parts for the Candidates for Council. Watch the videos below or visit the Chamber’s Youtube Channel.

2014 Summerland Municipal Elections Mayoral Candidates Part 1 

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2014 Summerland Municipal Elections Mayoral Candidates Part 2

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2014 Summerland Municipal Elections Council Forum Part 1

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2014 Summerland Municipal Elections Council Forum Part 2

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2014 Summerland Municipal Elections Council Forum Part 3

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 2014 Summerland Municipal Elections Council Forum Part 4

 

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Election 2014: Skilled Labour Attraction

November 5, 2014
Nov 4th 2014, Over 600 people came out to meet the Candidates and hear their plans for Summerland's future.

Nov 4th 2014: Over 600 people came out to meet the Candidates and hear their plans for Summerland’s future.

The Chamber is asking all candidates a series of business related questions so you have the information you need to make an informed voting choice.  Questions and answers will be posted here twice a week.  Check back regularly and follow the Chamber on Facebook for notification of new posts.

Question 7: What do you think the responsibility of a municipality is in the attraction and retention of skilled labour?

Candidates for Mayor

Christopher Boisvert-GilmanChris-Boisvert-Gilman

Skilled labour includes administrators, technicians, IT people and City Hall bureaucrats. Summerland Council must lead by example. We shouldn’t hire from outside unless absolutely necessary. Assessment of our future skilled worker needs must be done. Be proactive not reactive. Comparable skilled Summerland workers should be hired first. Throughout the campaign people say: we lost our youth and young families to larger communities. I am not convinced that we could get those who were raised and schooled in Summerland, to return from their BIG city life until they are ready to return. Summerland can welcome them back by establishing a UNITED community. Council needs to work with the teachers of skills that our community requires, and work with organizations and the whole community of Summerland to inform them in advance of our future needs. To-date council has seemingly ignored our greatest resource – our residents and places such as Summerland Research Station.

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David Gregory
David-Gregory

The responsibility should be a partnership between the Municipal Council and the Chamber of Commerce with common goals and visions to attract and retain  skilled labour.

CAIN INDEX: Creating a welcoming community is essential to attracting and retaining newcomers. One method of achieving this goal is to go through the exercise of  Community Attractiveness Indicator for Newcomers (CAIN) . This measurement reviews  our  (1) Economy, (2) Education, (3) Amenities, (4) Access to healthcare, (5) Housing, (6) Society, and (7) Innovation. Summerland has some real strengths  and our weaknesses should be identified and efforts made for improvement.

MARKETING/RETENTION:  The Chamber and the District together need to promote our community and use the ‘Summerland brand.’ Some companies such as the Okanagan Crush Pad with their Haywire wine and Diamond D vineyard, Summerland Sweets, Dirty Laundry,  the Lone Tree Coffee and the KVR, all promote a Summerland flavour. Mutual businesses supporting Summerland,  assists retention

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Peter WatermanPeter-Waterman

There is no direct link, but the municipality can create the atmosphere and amenities to add to lifestyle opportunities. Families, seniors and all ages are first looking for good schools, recreational facilities, cultural amenities and opportunities, and a safe setting. Our rural urban mix with the ability to quickly be in orchard or outdoor settings is a huge bonus.

The attraction and retention of labour itself is a question that relates to corporate capacity, salaries that their business can offer, business plans that are built on solid capitalization and businesses that are not so heavily leveraged that they cannot afford to pay competitive wages and benefit packages for high quality labour.

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Orv RobsonOrv-Robson

We have to provide an environment for growth. We have a shortage of trained skilled trades in the community because they are moving to other communities in order to find work.  Our young people who are obtaining skilled training in the trades are locally unable to gain employment as apprentices because there is not sufficient construction to provide the jobs.  They have to move away to enable them to get the time to gain journeymen trade tickets.  Locally, our tradesmen have had to move to other areas to find work, or commute, leaving their family behind.  This places a severe strain on the family structure, which can cause social problems. It is imperative to have a growth component in our planning for the community; this will attract the trades providing skilled labor in our community.  A GROWING COMMUNITY IS A HEALTHY COMMUNITY.

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Roch Fortinroch-fortin

The primary role of the municipality in attracting skilled labour, is to ensure private businesses choose to make Summerland their home.  It is private business that will provide the jobs for both professional and skilled labour.  One area the municipality may support labour is in the area of specialized training.  Can we attract a training facility to Summerland and provide safety, first aid, H2S etc type training, not only to the local job market but also to our many young men and women travelling to northern Alberta and BC.  Many companies prefer to offer training close to the homes of their employees as it is a less expensive option.

Skilled labourers will come to Summerland for work and they will stay in Summerland if their families find the quality of life they are searching for.  It is the councils responsibility to be aware of the pulse of the community and provide support and initiatives to enhance the life of all residents.  Life is made up of Arts, Music, Recreation, Peace and Security, Tranquility and much more.  Summerland can and does provide an incredible quality of life to its residents.

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Candidates for Council

 

Erin TrainerErin-Trainer

I believe council is able to attract skilled labour by creating an environment that’s open and inviting for businesses to set up. If we have competitive tax rates, good infrastructure, friendly and helpful district staff (which we do!), recreation services, schools and amenities – businesses will want to move here. Once this happens, skilled labour will follow.

In terms of retention, I believe it’s all about creating a lifestyle that workers won’t want to leave. For example, construction will start on the Penticton Hospital Expansion Project in 2016. This will bring an estimated 2000 people to work in our region. As council, we should strategize how we’re going to get these people to choose Summerland as their home.

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Martin (Marty) Van AlphenMartin-(Marty)-Van-Alphen

 The Municipality should have current information available to anyone regarding skilled labour programs offered at our local Schools, the Province and the Federal Government.  Council could be proactive by encouraging new and existing businesses to sponsor students which may entice them to stay. At Summerland Secondary we are fortunate to have a thriving Apprenticeship program which connects students with a huge choice of dual credit courses in the trades from Welding to Hairdressing. Last April the Provincial Government launched the “BC Skills for Jobs Blueprint” which is dedicated to giving our Apprenticeship students a head start with hands on experience at the high school level. Students earn dual credits while being paid and completing their high school.  Federally, registered Apprentices receive grants while training and upon completion of their Red Seal requirements. Employers’ are eligible to apply for a Tax Credit which is equal to 10% of the Apprentice’s wages.

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Richard Barkwill

Municipalities do not normally have any role in the attraction and retention of skilled labour, labour skills training is a provincial responsibility, although the federal government makes contributions.

I will instead use this space to discuss something on everyone minds, which is how the municipality can foster economic growth.

Red Tape and unnecessary regulations are commonly recognized as barriers to economic growth and we should tackle these items at the local level the same way they are being addressed at the federal and provincial levels.

To identify the red tape and unnecessary regulation I would create a task force composed of business representatives and other community members who would invite and review suggestions from the public with respect to any paperwork, rules and/or regulations they thought were unnecessarily burdensome.

This review should include not only the regulations involved in establishing and operating a business in Summerland, but also for the citizens and their interaction with the municipal hall.

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Toni Boot

Toni-Boot

I do not think the attraction and retention of skilled labour should even be on the radar at this point; it is a ‘putting the cart before the horse’ scenario.

The Municipality’s efforts must be focused first on attracting people to Summerland who want to live here and enjoy the amenities, lifestyle, and urban/rural balance.

We must enact and market an Open for Business philosophy that includes progressive policies and programs. This positive outlook will be yet another reason for people considering a move or an investment to put “Summerland!” at the top of their list.

I look forward to a time where our town is in the enviable position of having to attract and retain skilled labour.

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Erin CarlsonErin-Carlson

It isn’t the responsibility of the municipality to directly bring in skilled labour.  The municipality can provide infrastructure, amenities and an attractive working environment. If possible, we can make available (and affordable) the space for research and innovation.  Summerland must be competitive and stand out as a worthwhile place to invest in.

Summerland has always been enticing to skilled workers. It draws scientists to innovative places such as the Pacific Agri-Food Research Center, Summerland Varieties, and Mazza Industries. We attract some of the best teachers to our high quality schools and attract educated couples/families to our safe, liveable neighbourhoods.  More skilled labour in the healthcare and financial management fields will be required as our aging population grows, growing our economy with it. We should be working with the Federal and Provincial governments to ensure Summerlanders have the services they require and expect.

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John Dorn
John-Dorn

Providing the Chamber sustainable funding to develop tools such as websites, white papers and videos to attract tourists, investors and potential workers.

Re-instate the position of Economic Development Officer (possibly as a volunteer or on a performance based contract) to go out of province and pro-actively recruit employers and jobs.

Partner with the Thompson-Okanagan Tourist Association to go out to events and trade shows, to bring jobs and workers to the region.

There is a lack of office space in the downtown core. Fixing this should be part of council’s plans.

Workers at the Oliver Remand Centre and the new Penticton hospital tower should be courted to live in Summerland.

Study the implications of a “fair wage policy”.  See how it has worked in New Westminster and in First Nations on Vancouver Island.

Start work now on affordable housing plans. (See next question).

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Marty Fisher

Response not available by publication

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Joel GreggJoel-Gregg

Skilled labour will be attracted by jobs, a supply of homes they can afford, and a lifestyle they can enjoy.  Skilled labour will only go where there is work to be done.  Growth will attract skilled labour and provide work for them to do.  How our municipality can achieve this is to ensure we have an adequate supply of land for development with appropriate zoning.  Enjoying life starts with having our basic needs met, such as a clean water supply and electricity and continues to having well-maintained and innovative recreational facilities (i.e. pool, arena, athletic fields, cycling/hiking trails, etc.).   I also have it on good authority that “skilled labour” enjoys eating apples, pears, cherries, and peaches, so the municipality must ensure that they allow sufficient zoning for our farmers to nourish our skilled labourers.

Summary: Municipal responsibility = appropriate/balanced land zoning that allows for growth and well-maintained infrastructure.

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Doug Holmes

Doug-Holmes

This an area where the municipality, Chamber and other participants in the labour market system need to work together. Summerland’s appeal is its overall high quality of life, and we need to keep building on that strength. We need to ensure training, apprenticeship and mentorship opportunities are available and they are responsive to local needs. We need good labour market information to articulate what skills the community requires. We need to proactively identify people, including foreign workers and immigrants, who are likely to fit in and succeed in the community. We should improve our online presence to promote Summerland’s characteristics and opportunities to skilled workers worldwide, in the same way we’ve improved our online presence to attract tourists. Small communities like Summerland often lose out to larger cities in attracting skilled international labour and we should address this shortcoming in immigration policy with our federal and provincial counterparts.

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Bruce HallquistBruce-Hallquist

I think that local governments have a limited role in the attraction and retention of skilled labour. Suffice to say that, Councils need to ensure we have an adequate supply of properly zoned  industrial lands and a decent supply of affordable market housing, which in our case means bringing on some new lands for development. The current council is setting a good example of this through the development of the Bentley Road industrial area and a proposed future growth plan. You can’t attract or retain skilled labour if you don’t have a choice of reasonably priced housing in your community and jobs for them.

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Robert HackingRobert-Hacking

The District has few tools to directly attract skilled labour, as these are functions of appropriate training facilities, sufficient employers, and housing appropriate for their workforce.  What the District CAN do is ensure the planning of our community growth fulfills key needs employers demand when considering Summerland for their investment.  I have consistently been a strong advocate for the development of residential growth areas conducive to market-entry housing.  This is our most significant barrier to new industrial investment and I have advocated for progress in this area consistently and effectively.  We have the industrial area ready for investment, we need to be competitive in our housing options also.

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Janet PeakeJanet-Peake

This question refers to retention and attraction of skilled labour as employees of the town; the District of Summerland, then it is a prime responsibility of the town to hire and retain experienced well trained people with the right skill set and management ability and style to fit the municipal team in order to lead the various departments. Retention and training is important as turn over costs for staffing can be quite high, in dollar costs and impact to staff performance and the general atmosphere in which the municipality operates.

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Daniel Papadopoulos

Response not available by publication

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Denise MacDonalddenise-macdonald

It’s like the chicken and egg question, what came first – the business or the labour. The definition of skilled when defining labour is open to interpretation. Skilled labour move to/reside in a municipality for two reasons (1) for employment opportunities (2)employment elsewhere but want to live/ raise their families in a community of choice.  It is businesses responsibility to attract their own labour by supplying attractive/appropriate wages and working opportunities/conditions.  Factors such as the natural geography, demographics, proximity to markets/support businesses, and the social/civic infrastructure also have influence which aid business in being good employers and creating a demand for skilled employees. The municipality’s responsibilities to skilled labour are the same as all citizens and businesses, that being offering a diversity of housing types, appropriate tax structure, and best social/civic structure that is affordable, and an environment for employers to conduct business.

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Mark Smed

MarkSmed

Our responsibility to all citizens is to ensure our taxes are fair, we work with business and industry to provide opportunity to prosper and most importantly, we work with the community to ensure we are a desirable place to live.  When we achieve a good balance, then skilled workers will have a desire to live here and join our community.

Our community needs to attract young families, young entrepreneurs and their workers to ensure our economic sustainability.  They want affordable market-entry homes close to shopping, schools, recreation facilities and parks.  Give specific examples of how we can achieve this.

We need to increase densification of the downtown core and improve transportation routes with more access to busing.  There are a considerable amount of land and opportunities available in Summerland and council needs to be open to change.

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Ken Rodockerken-rodocker

1. Just as we need retention and attraction for business, we need skilled labour that operates and works in these businesses.  A municipality is reponsible for maintaining the  infrastructure which allows for local skilled labour retention. The more financially stable our municipality becomes the more infrastructure improvements can be accomplished which would bring in additional skilled labour.

2. By bringing our wineries to the downtown area, we would be creating a hub of interest and an influx of off-season business.  We would soon become one of the most desirable places to live in the Okanagan.  It is easy to attract new business and new famlies to a successful town.  This leaves us with a great opportunity to create level entry home projects in appropriate areas of town.


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