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Among de-bunking recent lists "ranking" Kelowna, Mayor Colin Basran reaffirmed Council’s commitment to working toward an integrated water system for the whole city during today's address to the Kelowna Chamber of Commerce.
The large crowd of business and community leaders attended the Chamber event at the Coast Capri ballroom.
“We’re confident our investments in building a great city are paying off in a number of ways – including the ability to generate employment opportunities,” said Mayor Basran, who highlighted a number of strengths in the local economy.
The mayor said 2016 will be a year of completing some of the major projects currently underway and focusing on ensuring the city’s core services are maintained.
“We are looking at what’s in the best long-term interests of our community. For the most part in the years ahead, we need to pay attention to our existing roads, buildings, bridges, utilities and parks.”
A large part of the presentation to the Chamber crowd focused on the city’s unique situation of having multiple irrigation districts supplying water to residents in different parts of Kelowna.
“This Council has identified water improvement as our No. 1 priority – and it was also residents’ top priority for investment in our 2015 Citizens Survey,” said Mayor Basran.
By looking at the system holistically, the mayor suggested investments could be prioritized in a way that makes the most sense for the entire system to avoid duplication.
“Kelowna’s strength is we have multiple water sources; our weakness is that they’re not integrated.
“This is also about water security. As our city grows, as the effects of climate change impact our water sources, real integration will make it possible to move large volumes of high-quality water anywhere in the city to address water quality, supply and treatment in a cost-effective way.”
In addition to working toward integrating the water systems, Mayor Basran also highlighted some capital projects that will get underway in 2016, including new playing fields and playground for Centennial Park, extending the City’s fibre optic network toward the airport and UBCO and Phase 2 of the Ethel Street multi-use corridor.
“Our Council will continue to work today to meet our responsibilities for tomorrow… No matter how difficult or long-term those initiatives might be.”
Find out more about the City of Kelowna progress on plans at kelowna.ca/cityhall.
February 15, 2016, marks the beginning of Chamber of Commerce Week in Kelowna, officially proclaimed by Mayor Colin Basran, joining other communities across BC.
Chamber week is an opportunity for Chambers of Commerce throughout British Columbia to showcase their work on behalf of business communities across the province.
This year, Chambers are celebrating the theme of "Empowering B.C. businesses" - a theme that highlights how Chambers strive to empower and grow each business in their community.
Every day, Chambers actively strengthen local businesses through networking events, mentorship opportunities, professional development activities and other unique programming. Whether hosting events and business awards, supporting young entrepreneurs through mentorship programs, providing community-tailored support such as hospitality training in tourism communities, or organizing unique travel experiences for companies interested in learning more about different international markets, Chambers are sharply focused on empowering each and every member business to succeed.
Simultaneously, the Chamber network - B.C.'s largest business organization - is advocating for policy changes to further drive local businesses' success.
Right now, for example, B.C.'s Chambers are leading efforts to advocate that the provincial government maintain a low tax rate for credit unions, which provide a key source of local business financing for communities right across B.C.
This is significant because for 44 communities in B.C., there are no alternative lenders. Keeping that credit union tax rate low is critical to seeing sufficient dollars flow into community businesses, both to launch start-ups and to enable established businesses to secure growth financing. President & CEO of the Canadian Credit Union Association and local panelists will speak more to this at her address at the Ramada on February 26th.
Chambers are also leading efforts to establish permanent inter-municipal business licenses. These licenses provide business owners with the geographic flexibility that many need, particularly in areas such as the construction trades. Right now, inter-municipal business licenses are moving from a pilot project to a permanent fixture in four Lower Mainland communities; the Chamber network hopes to further build on this success, with a vision of one day having a single cross-B.C. business license.
These are just two positive changes that the Chamber network is leading for B.C. businesses. Among many areas of impact, B.C.'s Chambers have been a leading voice:
* encouraging balanced budgets at all levels of government;
* calling for a made-in-B.C. value-added tax to support businesses in investing in their own growth;
* calling for solutions to B.C.'s skills gap; and
* encouraging municipalities to actively support local economic development.
All of these policy pushes, together with Chambers' local efforts, empower B.C.'s businesses and drive British Columbians' success.
So as B.C. celebrates Chamber Week and the many ways that B.C.'s Chambers empower local businesses and strengthen our communities, maybe this is the time to pop in to the Kelowna Chamber and ask us what type of membership is right for your business, or join in on some Chamber Week events, and see what it's all about.
We are currently accepting nominations for the 2016-2017 Kelowna Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors!
In a volunteer capacity, members of the Board of Directors of the Kelowna Chamber provide a leadership role in determining the long-term direction and policy decisions of the Chamber. They provide expertise to maintain a high standard of advocacy, services, programs and opportunities delivered by the Kelowna Chamber. Eight Director positions are available for the coming term. Five incumbent Directors are seeking election; additionally there are 3 vacant positions.
2016-2017 Incumbent Directors:
-Nikki Csek, Csek Creative incumbent .5 term
-Martine Hickman, BDC incumbent 1 term
-Jeff Robinson, Rush Ihas Hardwick incumbent 1 term
-Carmen Sparg, Total Interiors incumbent 2 terms
-Shelagh Turner, Canadian Mental Health Association incumbent .5 term
To be eligible to sit on the Board of Directors, members must be able to commit to a two-year term on the Board and must be a member in good standing for at least 30 days prior to the date of the close of nominations. Applicants require the written endorsement of two other Kelowna Chamber members.
If you are interested in serving on the board, please click here for the application form.
Applications must be received at the Kelowna Chamber office by 4:00 pm on Monday, February 8, 2016 at which point nominations will close.
If additional applications are received exceeding the number of eligible positions, a ballot will be e-mailed to all voting members following the close of nominations for an electronic vote. For further information, contact Caroline Grover, CEO at 250-469-7356 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.