December 2020/January 2021 Thompson Okanagan Movers and Shakers

January 22, 2021



Tyrese Gibson


Fast & Furious franchise actor Tyrese Gibson gifted the hotel rooms he and his team were occupying near Kamloops to local homeless who asked for his help. The actor was filming a new movie in the area.

Tony Cuzzetto is the new president of the Kamloops Youth Soccer Association. He has been on the board of directors since 2012.

The Kamloops and District Real Estate Association held their third Realtor Awards online. Realtor of the Year went to Wendy Runge of Century 21 Desert Hills Realty and Rookie Realtor of the Year Award went to Casie Menhinick of Royal LePage Westwin Realty. Other awards winners were: Helen Ralph won Realtor Choice Award; Wendy Runge, KADREA president won Distinguished Service Award; Ron Fawcett of the Kelson Group and Frilan Appraisals won Non-member Citizenship and Outstanding Affiliate Awards.

Tony Cuzzetto

The Bank of Montreal donated $750,000 for Indigenous students at Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops. The award will be split between the mentorship program Knowledge Makers, which guides Indigenous researchers at the undergraduate level, and the School of Nursing, supporting Indigenous students across various health-care programs in Kamloops and Williams Lake.

KPMG Kamloops announced the successful CFE writers. Scott Bjorkland, Nic Corno, Faline Lidstone, Wendy Milligan and Greg Russell. Daley & Company LLP also congratulates Jeff Carter on his completion of the CFE exam as he continues to journey to quality as a Charted Professional Accountant.

Shelby Vollo of Wealthy Roots Financial has received her designation as a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst. A CDFA professional is a financial professional skilled at analyzing data and providing expertise on the financial issues of divorce.


Nufloors celebrates 35 years in business. They are located at 775 Lakeshore Drive SW.

Morrow Beer Company, owned and operated by Adam and Genean Morrow, plan to open at the former Windmill Meats Location on Lakeshore Drive.

Eric’s Shuswap Automotive at 2560 Trans Canada Hwy has been in business 20 years.

Sisters, Janice Ishizaka and Cilla Watkins, founders of the Canadian Barley Tea Company, made a presentation before the Dragon’s Den and received the quickest offer in the show’s history. Their offer of 15 per cent of the company for $40,000 in order to expand their operations was quickly received by Dragon, Jim Treliving. The deal was settled in 6 minutes but the sisters pitch is not going to be aired on TV.

Rider Express is looking to expand their footprint into the South Okanagan, proposing a bus route going south from Salmon Arm stopping in Enderby, Armstrong, Vernon, Kelowna and Penticton, before returning the same way. The application for the added route is currently before the Passenger Transportation Board.

Braby Motors Dodge Chrysler Jeep RAM at 1250 Trans Canada Highway celebrates 55 years in business.


SilverStar Mountain Resort has opened its cross-country ski trails, with the downhill slopes coming soon after. Find out more about trail status and availability here.

FortisBC will soon be purchasing Stargas, the latter of which has supplied the Silver Star Mountain resort community near Vernon with natural gas for 20-plus years.

The Province of BC and the Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM) has awarded Vernon a $7 million grant to create more than 200 daycare spaces. The Okanagan Boys and Girls Club will operate the two new licenses facilities in partnership with the City of Vernon. The new facilities are expected to open in the fall of 2022.

The half-century year-old Pat Duke Arena in the Village of Lumby, 26km east of Vernon, has completed its change room renovation and expansion project. The total project budget was $3.5 million, and was completed with $2.56 million in support from the federal Gas Tax Fund, as well as a TELUS community grant.

Vernon Mayor Victor Cumming hopes to expand Ellison Provincial Park via purchase of the lakefront lands on Cameron Road, adjacent the park. Mayor Cumming noted BC Parks’ interest in the 234-acre Chelsea Estate property, most recently assessed at a value of around $16.5 million.

Chief Byron Louis

Chief Byron Louis of the Okanagan Indian Band Group of Companies (OKIB GC) announced signing of an agreement with EPCOR and Enterprise Canada, which will see the companies identify commercial opportunities in utilities-related infrastructure including water, wastewater and irrigation management systems providing quality drinking water and an adequate firefighting supply to serve the OKIB’s reserve lands. The partners will formalize the utility’s corporate and financing structures in the coming months.

The Silver Star Resort Association (SSRA), representing the Vernon mountain community, will elect five new board members at its first annual general meeting early next year. Silver Star homeowners can nominate a candidate for the SSRA board of directors by sending their nomination choice to

Alison Houweling

Armstrong city council is considering a proposed development of two medium-density apartment buildings at 3455 Adair Street, next to NorVal Arena and Memorial Park. The project would consist of  eighty units of affordable housing between the two buildings. If brought to next steps, council will schedule a public hearing on the project in early 2021.

Best Health Magazine has recognized Cammy LaFleur Street Outreach Program harm-reduction counsellor Alison Houweling as one of Canada’s Health Heroes, naming her amongst its Women of the Year. The national magazine places Alison in the ranks of notable doctors, health policy leaders and health information scientists. The Vernon resident also acts as manager of education and community programs for the Turning Points Collaborative Society (TPCS).

Dentist, Dr. Ryan Kilistoff moved to the Mori Professional Building at 201-3607 31st Street.

Cheryl Witter

 Cheryl Witter of North End Spine and Sports Physiotherapy celebrates 25 years in business.

The Community Foundation of the North Okanagan has distributed over $1 million in grants to local charities in 2020.

Lake Country’s Dairy Queen, owned and operated by Kelly Leach and Craig Misseldt celebrate 5 years in business. They are located at 8-10074 Highway 97.



StruXure Okanagan has opened its doors. They make luxury, automated, adjustable louver pergolas. The majority of the business is owned and operated by the Effa family with Dan Effa as president.

 The City of Kelowna has launched Citybot on the city website’s homepage. The chatbot is programmed  to simulate human conversation, and is designed to respond to more than 200 COVID-19-related questions. The bot has not yet been programmed to discuss non-COVID topics. To test the bot yourself, visit

The Kelowna Hotel Motel Association celebrated the Third Annual Heart of Hospitality Awards recognizing exceptional front-line staff. The virtual celebration honoured Georganna Moore of Accent Inns with the Heart & Soul Award, Mickey Cooke of Holiday Inn Express with Service Superstar Award and Linda Jones-Evans of Accent Inns with Spirit of Kelowna Award.

Kelowna Regional Transit will receive $7.3M in provincial and federal grants, which will allow essential service levels to be maintained, and fares to remain at current rates. The funding is part of $1.08 billion in COVID-19 Safe Restart grants to support municipalities and transit systems.

The Greater Westside Board of Trade has announced the 202 Key Business Award winners.

Geoffrey Paynter Citizen of the Year: Norm Parent Business of the YearA View to Remember Bed & Breakfast; Arts & EntertainmentOkanagan Indigenous Music & Art Society; Community & Public ServiceWest K Women of Influence; Entrepreneurial SpiritShift Power Yoga; Environmentally Sustainable BusinessA View to Remember Bed & Breakfast; YET Human Resources; Home Based BusinessYET Human Resources; Indigenous BusinessSyilx Trail Gallery & Gifts; Large BusinessBoyd Autobody & Glass; New Business – II Mercato Social Kitchen; Platinum Service Provider West Kelowna Integrative Health Care Centre; Small BusinessCarls Flower Company; Technology & Innovation – Big Bear Software; Tourism & HospitalityThe Cove Lakeside Resort.

Brady and Angela Rogers have opened The Rogeries in Orchard Park Mall. They offer all types of 100 per cent recycled plastic products with demonstrations of their recycling and printing process in-store.

KPMG LLP in Kelowna has promoted Lee Lesack to Senior Tax Manager and Mercedes Marleau to Audit Manager.

Laurel Douglas of Southern Interior Development Initiative Trust won Business Leader of the Year at the 2020 Kelowna Chamber Business Excellence Awards.

Production is currently underway in Kelowna, Quilchena, Kamloops and Lavington for the movie Dangerous. Among the cast are Mel Gibson, Tyrese Gibson and Famke Janssen.

The Kelowna Chamber of Commerce Business Excellence Awards 2020 winners were announced: Arts & Entertainment Achievement AwardKelowna Pride Society; Rising Star Business of the Year AwardShambhu’s Spice House Cuisine of India; Marketing Campaign of the Year AwardOkanagan Bucketlist; Social Leadership AwardSecure-Rite Mobile Storage; Ethics in Business AwardInspire Property Management Ltd.; Not-for-Profit Excellence AwardThe Bridge Youth & Family Services Society; Technology Innovator of the Year Award Hybrid Elevator Inc.; Young Entrepreneur of the Year AwardBrandon Panopoulos from TKI Construction Ltd.; Excellence in Tourism Award Big White Ski Resort Ltd; Inclusive Workplace AwardHampton Pools & Landscape; Small Business of the Year Awardportia-ella; Midsize Business of the Year AwardSecure-Rite Mobile Storage; Large Business of the Year AwardHighstreet Ventures Inc. and Business Leader of the YearLaurel Douglas.



NAPA Auto Parts is now open at #12-7519 Prairie Valley Road in Summerland.

A total of 18 building permits were issued in November with a total construction value of $2,382,000.


Pacific Coastal Airlines will launch a non-stop route between Vancouver and Penticton starting January 11, 2021, operating the service six days a week. Flights will be offered Sunday to Friday, with fares now on sale for $150 for one-way tickets. Flights can be booked at

Painted Rock Estate Winery’s 2017 Red Icon wine has been included in the “Wine of the Year” list for the January 2021 edition of Decanter Magazine. Decanter is The UK’S oldest consumer wine publication. Painted Rock Estate Winery, located at 400 Smythe Drive in Penticton, was the only Canadian wine selected.

Apex Mountain Resort, 35 km southwest of Penticton, is open for the ski season under COVID-19 safety protocols.

The City of Penticton is issuing a letter of support for Ask Wellness Society’s planned affordable housing project for seniors and families, which will be presented to BC Housing for funding. The proposed affordable housing project, in partnership with CMHA South Okanagan, Liberty Construction Group and JTW Consulting, would provide eighty-three units for seniors and families, each group having their own individual building.

Penticton city council has approved of the Skaha Lake Road to Martin Street lake-to-lake cycling route. The route will enter the planning stage with work on planning and infrastructure to begin in 2021. The design work is estimated to cost between $480,000 and $500,000.

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