2016 – The year of partnerships

Last week both tourism groups (Penticton Hospitality Association and Penticton Tourism Society) agreed to form one organization to better leverage funding and marketing initiatives.  This was great news not only because of the synergies it will create, but we can be more focussed on ensuring Penticton becomes the premiere destination it once was. 

While Tourism is a high profile example; there are many groups working in isolation (silos) that could learn from the example Tourism is working towards.  These fractured groups push their agenda or vision seldom acknowledging other likeminded groups or societies trying to achieve a similar outcome.  Imagine if groups could find efficiencies or common ground to share in administrative costs, programs, or overhead.

The arts community used to be splintered, but I like to think that in recent years there has been greater cooperation and acknowledgement of the various groups and artists. The fact that we just had thethird annual art awards celebrating the amazing talent we have here is a great example of members working together to raise the awareness and importance of art.

Similarly, we witnessed renewed momentum and collaboration to create some social housing for those without shelter. While there has been interest and enthusiasm from some non-profits and faith based groups we still need a champion to focus the good intentions into actionable initiatives. Recently the United Way has volunteered to help create a business plan and structure around the concept.

Collaboration isn’t limited to the non-profit world; it can be applied to the business world as well. The City is finishing up a labour market study looking at recruitment and retention strategies to help businesses with their employees. The study had 150 different businesses providing input to help understand the issues, concerns and opportunities many businesses face with respect to their workforce.

One strategy was creating an online employers network to serve as a portal for best practices, training opportunities, and job postings. Often when recruiting a specialized worker you need to find a position for the spouse, so an online portal can help raise awareness of other jobs. Another synergy is combining with other businesses for training, be it customer service, first aid or a fork lift ticket. Industry specific training is often expensive.  If you can have training provided locally or have participants from other businesses attend to lower costs it makes sense.

The last partnership I want to talk about is with the Penticton Indian Band. For years the river separated our two communities, and while challenges still exist, I feel people are starting to see the benefit of working together. In January we announced a partnership with the Band utilizing a portion of the Casino host community funding to enable economic development.  Economic development is Partnership, Jonathan Kruger and Andrew Jakubeit, PIB and City of Pentictoncrucial for both of our communities and best optimized through meaningful partnerships.

I was proud that at the BC winter games, first nations’ culture played an integral part of the opening and closing ceremonies. We are often focussed on paying lip service to formally recognizing first nation’s territory but we don’t do enough to meaningfully embrace first nation’s culture and philosophies from day to day. Both communities are committed to economic development. Through increasing collaborations we can continue to learn from and showcase our rich first nation’s culture to the benefit of both communities. Partnerships will provide Penticton with the momentum it needs in 2016.