February 8, 2024

Business News Influencing Thompson Okanagan

KELOWNA – The Excellence in Agricultural Leadership Award was presented to Glen Lucas, general manager of the BC Fruit Growers’ Association, in recognition of his 25 years of service to the organization, and sixth-grade instructor Aaron Veensta was awarded the Agriculture in the Classroom Foundation’s teacher of the year award at the BC Agri-Food Industry Gala held on January 24.

A non-profit organization called the Black Entrepreneurs and Businesses of Canada Society has initiated the Black Pitch Contest. This contest provides an opportunity for Black entrepreneurs to present their business ideas and compete for a prize of $25,000.

British Columbia has appointed Michael Fleming, a former mediator and associate chair of the BC Labour Relations Board, and representative of workers’ and employers’ interests to serve on a three-member panel assigned with recommending possible amendments to the Labour Relations Code.

Allied Corp., with its primary production facility situated in Colombia but headquartered in Kelowna, has signed a sales and distribution agreement for the United Kingdom for a period of three years. This market is projected to surpass Germany as the second largest in Europe in terms of medical cannabis consumption.

Kelowna’s Rotary Centre for the Arts has been selected as a finalist for the Remarkable Experience Award at the upcoming 2024 BC Tourism Industry Awards. The winners will be announced on March 7, during the 2024 BC Tourism Industry Conference at Victoria Conference Centre.

Low-interest personal loans of up to $25,000 are available from Beem Credit Union, which was established in January as a result of the merger of Interior Savings and Gulf & Fraser. Forty first-time homebuyers will be eligible for the loans, which have a ten-year repayment period and an interest rate of between 2 per cent and 4 per cent for the first five years.

UBC Okanagan students aim to raise money to launch a rocket at next summer’s Launch Canada competition in Ontario, which promotes aerospace and rocketry science, engineering and business. The club is currently seeking support from local businesses and individuals for donations and sponsorship.

The first Kelowna Women in Business  bootcamp will take place on February 24th at the Downtown Library, 1380 Ellis Street.

The rezoning applications for a six-story apartment building with 144 units at the intersection of Rutland’s Barber Road and Highway 33, and a townhouse project with 18 units at Glenmore’s Cross Road and Snowsell Street, were initially approved by the Kelowna City Council.

OpenTable has ranked BLOCK ONE Restaurant at 50th Parallel Winery, Home Block at CedarCreek Estate, and Old Vines Restaurant at Quails’ Gate Winery among the top one hundred most romantic restaurants in Canada for 2024.

The Canadian Football League‘s Grey Cup, presented by OK Tire, Blackhawk Tires and the CFL, is at Big White Village. Proceeds from the event will go towards the Touchdowns for the Community program, which helps youth football programs all over Canada.

The 49th annual Kelowna Civic and Community Awards will be accepting nominations until February 9th. An awards gala will be held on April 24 at the Laurel Packinghouse to recognize the finalists.

On March 10, 2024, The James Barker Band—which has four #1 hits—will perform at Prospera Place as part of a benefit concert for the Central Okanagan Hospice Association.

The final phase of commercial development at The Ponds in Kelowna’s Upper Mission, features a single building situated on Frost Road. This building covers an area of 763 square feet and is located to the east of the second phase.

Property owners on the border between Capri and downtown urban centres have applied for a development permit in order to rezone the land for apartment housing and to install charging stations for electric vehicles.

A fresh initiative called the “Middle Income Housing Partnership” is being launched in Kelowna with the goal of bringing together private and non-profit housing providers to tackle the urgent shortage of affordable housing. Under this program, private or non-profit organizations can work with top government agencies to secure the funds they need to sign long-term leases on city-owned land.

Three seats are open on the WFN Economic Development Commission to support WFN Members, community members, and lessees—create a healthy, environmentally sustainable and dynamic economy on WFN lands based on economic self-reliance and respect for Okanagan (syilx) heritage and culture.



Kelly Van Genne

Kelly Van Genne, manager and travel advisory at Expedia Cruises has joined the North Shore BIA.

Ed LeBourdais has been re-elected as chief, while Mat Lewis and Sunny LeBourdais will continue to serve as council members of the Whispering Pines-Clinton Indian Band. They will prioritize urgent matters, including infrastructure and addressing the housing needs of their community, especially in light of Canada’s housing crisis.

The Greek Kouzina Express is now open in the Yew Street Food Hall.

A collaboration between Repair Café Kamloops and the office of sustainability at Thompson Rivers University has been established to host the fixers on March 5 in the TRU Library Makerspace, which is located behind Tim Hortons. The fixers will be accessible to assist Kamloops community members and students with any broken appliances or clothes.

The Thompson-Nicola Regional District is allocating $100,000 from its regional parks reserve fund to develop a strategy for the development of its future parks and trails over the next decade.

The Community Land Trust Foundation board of directors is seeking two-year volunteers from the City of Kamloops who have expertise in land use, advocacy, financial management, or real estate.  The deadline for applications is on Thursday, Feb. 29.

The Skeetchestn Indian Band, Arrow Transportation Systems, and the Forest Enhancement Society of British Columbia are working together on a forest industry project to utilize all parts of harvested trees and find a use for the surplus material that is typically considered low-value wood waste. The goal is to reduce wood waste near Tunkwa Lake.



Sokana, Penticton’s newest project situated between Okanagan and Skaha lakes, is financed in part by Envision Financial, a branch of First West Credit Union.  With over $90 million in construction financing, The project includes the construction of 234 homes with a variety of amenities including a pool deck, fitness centre, social kitchen and lounge, co-working space and more.

Kevin Best and Rohani Yusoff have recently opened a new handmade pie shop called False Bay Savoury Pies at 98 White Avenue West. The business, which was formerly known as Lokis Gourmet Pie, relocated from Sunshine Coast town Gibsons.

A group of wineries in Naramata Bench is coming together to host a special event called Big Hearts, Small Bites ahead of Valentine’s Day. This event was initiated by the co-owners of Chain Reaction Winery, Joel and Linda Chamaschuk, and are joined by other wineries such as Howling Bluff, Lake Breeze, Lang Vineyard, Moraine, Poplar Grove Cheese/Lock & Worth, Ruby Blues, Three Sisters, Township 7 and the Naramata Inn.

Penticton-Edmonton summer service appears to be terminated by WestJet for 2024. Currently, Penticton Regional Airport only provides direct commercial flights to Vancouver’s South Terminal via Pacific Coastal Airlines and Calgary via WestJet.

Mayor Julius Bloomfield has declared February 12-16 “Chamber of Commerce Week,” honouring the Penticton & Wine Country Chamber of Commerce‘s dedication to fostering business growth, networking, and promoting positive change for both businesses and residents.

The Penticton Trade and Convention Centre will host the return of the second annual Galentine’s Market on February 10. A vast selection of locally crafted and creative goods will be on display for purchase.

Palmer Steakhouse Casual, a new addition to the Mackenzie Hospitality Group, has recently opened its doors near the South Okanagan Events Centre. The establishment is operated by the Mackenzie Hospitality Group, which also manages Shaugnessy’s Cove in Summerland and the Gunbarrel Saloon on Apex Mountain, and is also participating in BC’s Dine Around program.



WorkBC Centre Sicamous has moved to its new location at Unit 14B, 1133 Eagle Pass Way, Sicamous.

The Salmon Arm Chamber of Commerce welcomes its newest member, Scotiabank – Salmon Arm Branch.

Food hampers are being distributed in Scotch Creek, at the North Shuswap Seniors and Community Resource centre, as part of a new initiative to combat food insecurity in the North Shuswap. The initiative is led by the Eagle Valley Community Support Society and the Chase Hamper Society.

Members of the Salmon Arm Chamber of Commerce are eligible for a special offer through the Member to Member Benefits program: a “Complimentary Damage Assessment” and “15 per cent Off All Non-Insurance Services” from Total Restoration.

A NEW 30–40 minute dynamic circuit has been introduced at Whizbang Boxing, 101 Hudson Avenue NE, ideal for the working professional.



The Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce’s 39th annual Business Excellence Awards recognized the Okanagan Science Centre as the recipient of the Tourism Excellence title.

Co-op Community Spaces is now accepting applications for its 10th year of funding. This program supports local projects focused on recreation, environmental conservation and urban agriculture. Non-profit organizations, registered charities, and community service co-operatives can apply online until March 1 for funding  that ranges from $25,000 to $150,000.

The Vernon Public Art Gallery is organizing a Valentines Prom event on February 14th sponsored by Woolley & Co, with Becky’s Back Door Beans presenting local musical talents Norsu and DJ BG.

Silver Star Mountain‘s Vernon Snowmobile Association chalet is now fully operational, providing a winter refuge for snowmobilers and snowshoers and a summer haven for mountain bikers and hikers. Mar 9 is set as the date for the opening ceremony.

The North Okanagan Youth and Family Services Society at 3100 32 Ave. is selling pink cupcakes to promote kindness and raise funds for local programs.

OpenTable has ranked PeakFine at Sparkling Hill Resort among the top one hundred most romantic restaurants in Canada for 2024.



The Community Foundation of the South Okanagan Similkameen has been awarded $1 million from the Summerland & District Credit Union‘s legacy fund for its invaluable work in supporting local community projects and programs.

Summerland council approves the inclusion of liquor vendors at the upcoming Memorial Park community market, allowing for tastings and sales.

Highway 97 Brewing of Penticton and the Critteraid Animals Sanctuary in Summerland will work together on “For the Love of Critters” on February 14 to raise money for the sanctuary’s entire animal population.

Send your business updates, new staff announcements or celebrations to media@businessexaminer.ca





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