June 2018

188 189 PENTICTON, BRITISH COLUMBIA and a 129-bed acute care hospital are just a few of the advantages Penticton offers its residents, businesses, and visitors. Business View recently spoke with Penticton Mayor Andrew Jakubeit about the plethora of projects on the go in the city. The following is an edited version of that conversation: BVM: Mr. Mayor, you have a diverse community with unusual challenges… Mayor Jakubeit: “Yes. Penticton is one of only two cities in the world that is sandwiched be- tween two lakes. To the east we have mountain- side, and to the west, the Penticton Indian band – the largest reserve land holder in the province (46,000 acres). That geography limits growth; therefore, building a good relationship with our Penticton Indian neighbors is key. They are a large entity and starting to develop some lands – so, a partnership speaks well for our mutual success, going forward. “We are an independent municipality in the Re- gional District of Okanagan-Similkameen (RDOS). Our population is around 34,000; 15 minutes north/south, it’s about 54,000; the entire region is just over 80,000. The hospital is our biggest single employer. In the public sector we have 300 city employees, Canada Revenue Agency has a large office, and the provincial government has several offices here. Manufacturing has the next largest workforce, then trade (retail, construction), tourism, and agriculture. Being in the Okanagan Valley, we have 150 wineries within an hour, five craft breweries, and a few distilleries – libations is becoming an internationally recognized industry on its own. Most of the agriculture is south of us in Oliver, and much has been transitioned into vineyards, but we still have a lot of orchards with apples, cherries, and peaches. “We are fortunate to have some unique busi- nesses in niche manufacturing. One foundry makes ball bearings used for earthquake-proofing buildings. Structurlam Products produces massive wood beams for innovative projects world-wide; highlights include UBC Brock Commons (world’s tallest wood structure), the Vancouver Olympics Speed Skating Oval and the Raleigh-Durham International Airport in North Carolina.” BVM: Do you engage the community in city planning? Mayor Jakubeit: “We’ve invested heavily in en- gagement platforms –www.Shapeyourcitypent- icton.ca is the portal we’ve been using, and we have over 2,900 subscribers actively participat- ing online. The good, the bad, and the ugly gets reported to Council.We see a dashboard showing how many people they spoke to, how many sur- veys were filled out, what was downloaded– it’s no longer just special interest groups dictating what’s happening.We’re using the data to up- grade our Parks & Recreation Master Plan, which hasn’t been done since 1993, and our Official Community Plan. Memorial Arena is a big issue, as are parking, utilities, and waste water. The feed- back has been very beneficial. “This is year three of record development and it’s been exciting to drive around town and see