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SOCC officials meet with Premier Clark and cabinet ministers to discuss economic issues
The South Okanagan Chamber of Commerce capitalized on a rare opportunity last week to rub shoulders with 16 cabinet ministers and BC Premier Christy Clark.
The chamber attended a breakfast hosted by the West Kelowna Chamber of Commerce at the Cove Lakeside Resort.
South Okanagan Chamber president Holly Plante said Clark spoke about the importance of chambers working together and collaborating in BC.
“She touched on how important it is for us all to invest in education and economic development so we can create more jobs and better quality jobs.”
Plante said Clark believes that positioning Kelowna as a hub for technology will have positive spin-off effects for jobs throughout the Okanagan and will help strengthen Okanagan College, UBC-Okanagan and educational options.
Plante noted the premier also mentioned the economic outlook for liquefied natural gas projects in BC is extremely positive.
“This would lead to us being the second biggest supplier in the world of liquid natural gas, not to mention 100,000 new jobs in BC would be created with billions invested in our economy,” Plante said.
She added they would be diversifying trade partners as opposed to relying solely on the US (they are great partners but it’s always smart to spread out business).
Plante said another bonus in BC is having some of the lowest health care costs in Canada and also some of the lowest cases of disease and illness per capita.
“All in all, having Christy’s riding as West Kelowna will give the Okanagan more focus and attention.”
It started with dozens of politicians staying at the resort for a few days learning more about the Okanagan.
Plante sat next to Coralee Oakes, Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development. “She said she wants to work more closely with the South Okanagan Chamber of Commerce and gave me her card as she wants to hear more from us and what she can do for support.”
As a result of that conversation, the chamber will be establishing an outline of priorities for further discussion, based on its strategic plan and member feedback.
“What I had hoped to do was build rapport with various cabinet ministers and open the door for future discussions, which was achieved.”
Plante believes there is going to be lots of good news for this area.
“The South Okanagan Chamber of Commerce has definitely raised our profile, level of collaboration and partnerships to be invited and included at these events, and most certainly have our foot in the door.”
Plante said the chamber has come from “behind the scenes” to stepping up and improving the level of communication and advocacy for the region.
After the breakfast, they headed to the South Okanagan Chamber of Commerce transportation session spearheaded by Robert Linttell, the chamber’s transportation chairman.
“The appetite from Kelowna to Osoyoos from stakeholders is that we absolutely need a privately funded scheduled shuttle service from Kelowna Airport to the Penticton Airport and south, with key stops along the way.”
Special to the Times