Okanagan Panorama

Monday, 16 February 2015 04:52

Kelowna: Spin City?

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In trying to write a weekly thought-provoking business-related article of interest to entrepreneurs and small business owners I try to avoid focusing too much on Kelowna. There are truly many other amazing communities to live and do business in throughout the Okanagan. But the City of Kelowna, or its elected representatives, leave themselves open for scrutiny.

Once upon a time our sole source of information was the newspaper, often having taken ages to arrive to the targeted reader. Nowadays, news is instantaneous. We are bombarded with news items every minute of every single day. Breaking news now … and for ever. Television, radio, internet, mobile devices … it is everywhere!

But is it really news? Most of it isn’t. Much of it is marketing and promotion packaged as news.

Take for example a recent article in the Daily Courier, February 11, 2015 by Steve MacNaull, Kelowna-based business reporter ‘City of Entrepreneurs’. MacNaull was at the Kelowna Chamber of Commerce’s luncheon to capture Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran’s comments on how wonderful Kelowna is doing.

<< The Kelowna advantage has created a city of entrepreneurs.

“Knowledge, opportunity and lifestyle are driving our economy,” Mayor Colin Basran said in his state-of-the-city address Wednesday at a Kelowna Chamber of Commerce lunch.

“Such an enviable lifestyle attracts entrepreneurs and we want to build on that momentum.”

“Such an approach has led to back-to-back Open For Business Awards from the B.C. government’s Small Business Round Table,” he said.

The Kelowna advantage is an educated workforce, an international airport, high speed fibre-optic Internet, attractive lifestyle and that entrepreneurial spirit.

It attracts yet more entrepreneurs who set up businesses in everything from retail and tourism to professional services and high technology.>>

I appreciate Steve attending these types of events and reporting back to us what was said. I also appreciate that he doesn’t take the next step of critiquing or analyzing the content that was delivered. As business people and citizens it behooves us not to take everything that we hear or read at face value. We should be thinking for ourselves and challenging every platitude we hear from our politicians for its truth.

Truth can be an ambiguous word to some people, not to be confused with the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. It is often said that history is written by the victors. Now it seems that truth is created by those that believe something to be true or that want somebody else to believe that they are telling the truth. “If we want people to believe how wonderful we are doing … then it must be true!”

Our elected officials seem to have a compunction to put a positive spin on how things are progressing. Perhaps that is what we expect of them. We are familiar with the ‘yay sayers’ and the ‘nay sayers’. I would propose that the ‘status quo challengers’ are of equal value. [I’m not sure if that is even a classification, couldn’t think of anything else].

One such local status quo challenger is Eliecer Marchante, a local Web Designer, Online Marketing Specialist & Social Media Expert. I haven’t had the pleasure of meeting him yet, but hope to soon.

Sometimes I agree with him, other times not. His recent blog postrecent blog post is worthwhile considering.

<<<I love how politicians and business associations continue inflating the “prosperity” bubble about Kelowna. I recently read an article from Daily Courier saying that “the unemployment rate is low” in Kelowna (http://goo.gl/PT4u1fhttp://goo.gl/PT4u1f). Let’s do some math... Kelowna is part of the Thompson-Okanagan area, and based on the information provided by WorkBC, the Thompson-Okanagan Area has the highest unemployment rate in the province (5.7%)

Unemployment Rate January 2015
Source: WorkBC - http://goo.gl/1FYlOmhttp://goo.gl/1FYlOm

1. Thompson-Okanagan............. 5.7%
2. Mainland / Southwest............ 5.6%
3. Kootenay................................ 5.2%
4. Vancouver Island / Coast....... 5.2%
5. Cariboo................................... 5.0%
6. North Coast & Nechako......... 4.7%
7. Northeast -

Also, the article mention that Kelowna is the “third biggest technology cluster in the province”. Let’s see the whole group:

Source: BCStats: http://goo.gl/QQhg1Nhttp://goo.gl/QQhg1N

1. Mainland / Southwest............... 68%
2. Vancouver Island / Coast......... 16%
3. Thompson-Okanagan................. 9%
4. Kootenay.................................... 2%
5. Northeast.................................... 2%
6. Cariboo....................................... 2%
7. North Coast & Nechako............. 1%

He concludes with:

But don't forget that Kelowna is ranked #17 as one of the “Best Cities for Work in B.C.”, and also rated in 4th position as one of the "Least Affordable Housing Market in Canada” - http://goo.gl/vLDsxnhttp://goo.gl/vLDsxn. I don't know how, but our Major Basran believes that “Kelowna's future is bright.” - http://www.castanet.net/news/Kelowna/132719/Basran-predicts-bright-futurehttp://www.castanet.net/news/Kelowna/132719/Basran-predicts-bright-future >>>

Now is he telling the truth … yes, as he sees it. Aly Pain local Speaker, Organizational Coach & Training Expert, Author doesn’t quite see it that way.

<<Thanks for clarifying a few things about Kelowna. The unemployment may be the highest and the technology cluster not the biggest, but how does that make the Mayor wrong in predicting a bright future? Just because everything isn't coming up roses now doesn't mean that better things are to come. There are a number of places that benefit from low oil prices because the cost to transport goods goes down. Airlines are talking about offering more seat sales which bring in more tourism dollars as well. We have some work to do, but I disagree with your ‘bubble bursting prognosis’.>>

Maybe truth is like beauty … it lays in the eyes of the beholder. Thanks Eliecer & Ali for sharing your thoughts from different perspectives.

Onwards & Upwards!

 

Rae Stonehouse

Author Bio:

Rae A. Stonehouse is a Canadian born author & speaker. His professional career as a Registered Nurse working predominantly in psychiatry/mental health, has spanned four decades.

Rae has embraced the principal of CANI (Constant and Never-ending Improvement) as promoted by thought leaders such as Tony Robbins and brings that philosophy to each of his publications and presentations.

Rae has dedicated the latter segment of his journey through life to overcoming his personal inhibitions. As a 27+ year member of Toastmasters International he has systematically built his self-confidence and communicating ability. He is passionate about sharing his lessons with his readers and listeners. His publications thus far are of the personal/professional self-help, self-improvement genre and systematically offer valuable sage advice on a specific topic.

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