This year marked the 60th year anniversary for the BC Chamber of Commerce Annual General Meeting. This year Penticton was host to over 241 delegates over a 3 day period. One of the main highlights of the AGM included the most organized Policy Resolutions Review to date with over 41 new resolutions to be presented to the Provincial Government.
Petra Veintimilla, President of The South Okanagan Chamber of Commerce presented a policy recommendation regarding Community Futures – Economic Gardening Program for over 2 million dollars in funding. This policy was accepted during the session with excellent support from other communities. Petra said, “ This funding will help ensure businesses in other areas of the province will have the opportunity to grow and prosper.” Other newsworthy policies included the continued advocacy for removing interprovincial trade barriers for shipping Canadian wines which is expected to get some positive results in the near future when reviewed by the Province. Premier Christy Clark announced the Micro Business Training Pilot Program by Premier Christy Clark at our 60th Anniversary AGM & Conference in Penticton. “This program leverages the unique ability of the Chamber of Commerce Network to deliver skills training to micro business owners in the sectors which need it most,” said John Winter, President & CEO of the BC Chamber of Commerce.
The Premier gave an excellent update on the Province’s economic outlook which included major projects like LNG Canada, (Liquid Natural Gas) a multi-billion dollar project based out of Kitimat, British Columbia with 3 Asian partners and Shell. There is also an existing LNG plant launching in 2015 in Kitimat with partners Encana, Apache, and EOG resources. These two projects will position BC as one of the leading suppliers to Liquid Natural Gas. Martin Salloum, President and CEO of the Edmonton Chamber of Commerce skipped the Alberta Chamber of Commerce AGM to instead attend the BC AGM in Penticton. Again, just another indication that the Province of BC is moving towards more progressive economic times. In order for the Canadian economy to stay on top there is always work to do. The Top 10 Barriers to Competitiveness in BC were summarized by Perrin Beatty, President and CEO of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce and Robert Fine, Director of Central Okanagan Economic Development Commission. Barriers that were emphasized included skilled labour shortages, lack of production, out of date technology, and over regulation by government. These barriers are available for review on http://chambertop10.ca/10-barriers/ All delegates left the AGM feeling inspired and ready to put new ideas into action for their local community. Holly Plante, Vice President of the South Okanagan Chamber of Commerce comments “I learned that in order to remain competitive in an already extremely competitive Western economy our local communities like Osoyoos, Oliver, and Okanagan Falls really need to make it easy and inviting for new residents to relocate and businesses to open their doors. The sunny South Okanagan is open for business!” Next year’s BC Chamber AGM will be held in Nanaimo, BC again in May 2012. For Further Information Contact: Petra Veintimilla President, South Okanagan Chamber of Commerce