Collaboration Critical for Economic Success

September 1, 2016

– Christine Petkau is Executive Director at the Summerland Chamber of Commerce. She can be reached at

SUMMERLAND – A few weeks ago, the Summerland Chamber had the opportunity to host an Economic Development Building Blocks Workshop that was presented and facilitated by staff and consultants from the Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training.

Chamber board members were joined at the workshop by Summerland Mayor, Councilors and District staff, business and community members of the Mayor’s Task Force on Economic Development and other regional EcDev partners.

The workshop gave us the opportunity to look at our community together through an economic development lens and discuss the best prospects for growth and the beginnings of a community vision. It was particularly helpful to brainstorm together to create a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) document that looked at our economic advantages and our challenges.

Throughout the workshop, we created a number of useful tools and information that we can use to move forward. In addition to the SWOT, we developed a list of projects and initiatives to engage our business members and help them grow and we achieved a better understanding of how ready the community is for investment.

During this past week, some of the same individuals joined us here at the Chamber for a webinar specifically around how a community can fill empty downtown buildings. While not every idea will fit in Summerland, some of them can certainly be implemented very soon as we work together to fill key spots in our downtown area.

The best part of working together across all these groups is knowing that we all have the same goal – appropriate growth for our community while maintaining the characteristics that we all love.

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Summerland Chamber members also participated this week in a business roundtable with our Member of Parliament, Dan Albas. MP Albas was able to update a number of Summerland winery owners on new developments regarding interprovincial trade and the ‘Free My Grapes’ initiative. He also answered questions from the group regarding temporary foreign workers and general labor mobility amongst skilled occupations.

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