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Friday, 18 October 2013 08:47

Regional Governance in Greater Vernon

Written by Dan Rogers Published in Blog Posts

Local governance issues are a hot topic this month in Greater Vernon. A group called the Greater Vernon Governance Society has been promoting the amalgamation of the City of Vernon, District of Coldstream, Electoral Area B and Electoral Area C into a single entity for the purpose of increased efficiency in tax spending.

We, at the Vernon chamber, regularly hear from members that struggle with aspects of the local governments from both the tax and the services point of view, so having a look at amalgamation as a solution is certainly welcome, from our point of view. The Greater Vernon Chamber also has policy on record asking for a “regional approach to economic development” since some of the obstacles to business attraction and expansion cross political boundaries. There are many challenges with multiple governments but the process of amalgamating jurisdictions is decided by the electorate.

The Greater Vernon Governance Society has started a petition to gather names hoping to show significant public support for a referendum question on the subject. Information can be found on this at

Another issue in Vernon that the Vernon Chamber has an open file on is the ongoing discussion with local governments around development cost charges and the permitting application process. Late in June a group of chamber members called BIG RED (Business Improvement Group for Real Estate and Development) met senior city staff for a first meeting to develop a working relationship and outline some concerns. Progress is taking place and some incremental steps are being taken. This issue is also complicated by the requirements from multiple levels of government.

There is also an active discussion around the Official Community Plan (OCP) review this year. In 2008 Vernon was growing at break neck speed and the OCP reflected a need to control and cool down. Now days the opposite is the case, so businesses are urging the city to take into consideration a need for economic growth in the OCP. The draft version of the OCP review does have a limited economic development section. A more robust and fulsome plan would demonstrate a greater commitment to this endeavour.

Thursday, 17 October 2013 09:03

BC Chamber Update on Federal Throne Speech (Oct 16, 2013)

Written by Dan Rogers Published in Blog Posts

Yesterday’s federal Throne Speech had some good news for the BC Chamber membership, including a notable policy win for us on credit card regulation. In alignment with our credit card policy, the Throne Speech recognized that Canadians deserve to know the real cost to merchants when they pay by debit or credit card. The government will now require credit and debit card providers to disclose the cost of different payment methods to merchants.

Further good news in the Throne Speech includes:

  • A commitment to balanced budgets: The federal government will introduce balanced-budget legislation, which will require balanced budgets in normal economic times and concrete timelines for returning to balance in the event of an economic crisis;
  • A commitment to reduce debt: The government commits to achieving a debt-to-GDP target of 25% by 2021 and reduce the ratio to pre-recession levels by 2017;
  • A commitment to freeze spending: The Throne Speech commits to a freeze of the overall federal operating budget, and to reform of the way the federal system manages spending; and
  • A commitment to fight red tape: The federal government will introduce legislation to enshrine the One-for-One law; for every new regulation added, one must be removed.

Other items in the speech that the BC Chamber will be watching closely, and will continue active advocacy on, include:

  • Canada Job Grant: The Throne Speech announced that the government is moving forward with introducing the Canada Job Grant. This training grant has a lot of potential, if designed so that all business sizes can access it, and the BC Chamber will continue active advocacy on this front to convey the needs of B.C. businesses in the implementation of the grant; and
  • Temporary Foreign Workers: The BC Chamber was disappointed to see the government pushing ahead with changes to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program that are causing challenges for B.C. employers and other employers across Canada. The BC Chamber is following up immediately with the federal government to again stress the valuable role temporary foreign workers play in B.C.’s economy and the benefit of a robust temporary foreign worker program to supplement locally-available workers.  We will continue active advocacy on this file and push for necessary access to skills and labour to fill critical B.C. jobs.


Thursday, 03 October 2013 08:14

Small Business Week

Written by Dan Rogers Published in Press Releases

Monday, 19 August 2013 15:06

New By-Laws Proposed for 2013

Written by Dan Rogers Published in Press Releases

 The Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce is planning to change the by-laws at the next Annual General Meeting at the Laker's Clubhouse  on Sept 26. To see a copy of the old by-laws, view here. To see the new propsed by-laws, view here.


The new by-laws are model by-laws that bring the chamber into compliance with the Board of Trade Act.

Thursday, 01 August 2013 15:35

BC Chamber says Core Review promises “substantive” gains

Written by Dan Rogers Published in Press Releases


BC Chamber says Core Review promises “substantive” gains



Vancouver, July 31, 2013 – The BC Chamber of Commerce commends the B.C. government for advancing plans for a Core Review, which targets greater efficiency and accountability in government’s use of taxpayers’ dollars.

“We think a Core Review with this mandate and scope promises substantive gains for B.C.’s taxpayers,” said John Winter, the BC Chamber’s president and CEO. “This initiative is great news for British Columbians and aligns directly with what our 36,000 represented B.C. businesses have been calling for.”

Winter said that some of the best news coming out of the government’s just-released terms of reference for the Core Review includes:
•    the broad scope of the initiative, which includes B.C. ministries, boards, commissions, Crown agencies, schools, universities, colleges and hospitals; and
•    an emphasis on finding alternative, more cost-efficient service delivery models.

“We’re very pleased to see that the government is truly trying to put its house in order, including tackling areas of public concern such as B.C.’s Crown corporations,” Winter said. “We also commend the government for emphasizing alternate service delivery models, which could bring private-sector efficiency to some government operations.”

The BC Chamber also applauded the B.C. government’s plans to refine the ideas that emerge from the Core Review through consultations with industry and other stakeholders.

“All in all, we’re extremely pleased to see how this initiative is advancing and we look forward to helping find private-sector solutions to some of B.C.’s challenges,” Winter said.

The BC Chamber is the largest and most broadly-based business organization in the province.  Representing more than 125 Chambers of Commerce and 36,000 businesses of every size, sector and region of the province, the BC Chamber of Commerce is “The Voice of Business in BC.”

- 30 -

For further details, please contact:

John Winter
President & CEO
BC Chamber of Commerce
T 604.638.8110
C 604.376.3577

Jenny MacPhee
Communications Officer
BC Chamber of Commerce
T 604.638.8114
C 604.366.4990

Wednesday, 31 July 2013 16:04

Chamber Policy Recommendation: Regional Branding Strategy

Written by Dan Rogers Published in Blog Posts

Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce policy on a regional branding strategy


Currently, Greater Vernon lacks a strong brand. An effective brand must:

  • have the support of the community;
  • differentiate the region from other regions;
  • capitalise on the region’s strengths; and
  • target appropriate economic development opportunities.

Greater Vernon has a strong basis for a brand themed on Greater Vernon’s health, wellness and lifestyle strengths. Unlike any other community in Canada, we have:

  • an active population with genuine year-round access to excellent and varied outdoor recreation, including hiking, road and mountain biking, beaches, lakes, fishing, world-class golf courses, snowmobiling, abundant playing fields for many sports, world-class Nordic skiing facilities and a tremendous ski hill;
  • a growing core of complimentary alternative health services including massage therapy, integrative medical services, chiropractors, acupuncture therapy, Tai Chi and yoga organisations, and a highly popular national icon health spa accommodation facility;
  • one of only two accredited massage therapy educational programs in B.C.;
  • local agricultural production of healthy fresh products; and
  • a regional growth strategy that includes the concepts of compact and complete cities that support active transportation.


These existing strengths, coupled with strong branding of those strengths, position our community to seize certain opportunities and mitigate existing weaknesses, including:

  • attracting an educated demographic to live and remain in the area, thus providing a talented and stable workforce;
  • attracting businesses to the area which rely on human talent, rather than industry, and so mitigating concerns over a lack of suitable industrial land and building;
  • attracting further businesses which operate in the health and wellness field;
  • encouraging affluent tourism; and
  • attracting retirees, with their pension income, to live in the region.

The Chamber Recommends,

That the local governments of Greater Vernon actively research the benefits of and community support for a branding concept based on Greater Vernon’s health, wellness and lifestyle strengths.

Davison Orchards

80th Anniversary Pie Celebration, SATURDAY , May 18th

The Davison family is celebrating their 80th anniversary of farming in Vernon.

They have been looking back over the years and the many changes to Vernon and their farm since 1933.

Then: Milk was .42 a gallon, now it is $4.56

Then the average house price was $5759, now it is $353,000

Then the most popular apple variety was Macintosh, now it is Honeycrisp

Then the population of Greater Vernon was 3937 (1934) now it is over 58,500

Then the Davison family farmed 34 acres, now we farm 120 acres

Then we sold our apples to the packing house, now we sell directly to our customers.

Then Tom and May Davison farmed alone and were new immigrants to Canada, Now, there are three generations working and farming together including grandparents, parents, aunts, uncles, and grandkids.

On Saturday, May 18th the Davison family is hosting an anniversary celebration at their farm. They will be sharing lots of photos and stories from the past to the present, as well as giving away a family Seasons Pass to one lucky family. Anyone 80 years or older be honored with free ice cream and a free Johnny Popper ride on Saturday. “We asked our customers on Facebook for some ideas on how we should celebrate our anniversary. They said, “free apple pie” so that is what we are going to do”, reports Laura Shaw, head baker and fourth generation Davison. “We have decided to serve it up in style and are baking one massive apple pie, big enough to serve a crowd!” The pie is 80 inches around and Laura is confident that this one pie will feed 80 people. “It’s our version of an anniversary cake”, Laura says, “but we figured go big or go home!” The pie will be cut at 2pm and will be first come first serve.  

May 18th also marks the first day of the “Great Pie Giveaway”, the Davisons have decided to keep up the free pie theme and will be giving away one free (regular sized) Deep Dish Apple pie each and every day for 80 days from May 18th to August 4th.   There will be a different way to win each day so watch the Davison Orchards Facebook and Twitter for daily updates.

“We want to thank Vernon for helping us keep farming through all the changes that have happened over the last 80 year, we couldn’t do it without our customers” says Tamra Davison, marketing director. “We are looking forward eating pie and celebrating together!”

The pie cutting as well as the Seasons Pass giveaway will begin at 2pm in front of the country market at Davison Orchards, Saturday, May 18th Call 250-549-3266 for more information.

Source:Vernon Population: Vernon Museum Archives, Barbara Ball

Average house price:

Monday, 08 April 2013 11:15

Mayor's April Update

Written by Dan Rogers Published in Press Releases
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