As 2018 rapidly comes to a close, and the holiday shopping season quickly ramps up, it’s a good time to look back on a year of change, and look forward to a year of growth and innovation in the South Okanagan.

It was a year of legislative change. We all waited for the day that cannabis regulations came into force across the country, perhaps watching the morning news to see what would happen when our province’s first legal store opened in Kamloops, or keeping an eye on investment opportunities, or maybe you started to plan for business growth (no pun intended), in this new reality.

It’s safe to say that many questions still remain. But with any change this monumental, there are opportunities, and taking advantage of this requires thoughtful planning, consultation, and education on what can, and can’t be done. So, in 2019, look to your business associations to help provide information.

Municipal elections brought change as well, as many cities, regional districts, school boards, and other branches of local government welcomed new faces around the table, or welcomed back those who have previously served their communities and constituents. As the year comes to a close, many of our local elected officials are just getting settled into their roles, and as the new year approaches, the call for committee volunteers, advisory councils, and public input will begin.

We’re all in this together, and can look ahead to enhancing our collective vision to build innovative ideas and economies as a team. In 2019, consider lending some of your time and expertise to an association, board, charity, or event.

And, speaking of support, a reminder this holiday season to support our local businesses. As you may see on social media, #shoplocal or #buylocal. When you buy a gift from or use the services of a local business, you’re actively contributing to our local economy by keeping your dollars in your community.

We have great stores throughout our city and region, wonderful service providers, and excellent business leaders. As we close out the year, the Penticton & Wine Country Chamber of Commerce wants to once again thank our diverse business community for choosing Penticton for your business, and as your home.

Enjoy the holiday season, and join us in the anticipation and excitement for a prosperous year to come, undoubtedly bringing more change and challenges we can tackle together.

Kim Kirkham is Executive Director at the Penticton & Wine Country Chamber of Commerce. She can be reached at 778-476-3111 ext. 102.