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The Price is Right

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Beyond Hope, bursting with pride

Right off the top, I probably should admit that my wife of nearly 40 years has yet to be convinced that this particular Price is always right.

Quite the contrary.

As a longtime B.C. broadcaster, I’ve spent most of the last 30 years anchoring the morning news on the Interior’s main news and information radio station. After relocating to Kamloops from the Lower Mainland, I quickly grew fond of this region’s limitless opportunity and spirit.

It didn’t take long to understand that British Columbia’s Interior is where much of our province’s prosperity begins.

Over the next several weeks, months, and hopefully years, it will be my mission to report the successes, challenges, and frustrations beyond Hope.

While researching this first edition of The Price is Right, I have constantly been reminded about the Interior’s huge economic importance.

Quite simply, the resource rich interior is where B.C.’s wealth is created.

The numbers don’t lie. For example, according to Resource Works, the majority of B.C.’s top 100 employers are in resources? Also notable is the fact that Interior resources are directly and indirectly responsible for over 300,000 high-paying jobs.

In fact, according to a recent Urban Futures Institute study, one resource worker in B.C. produces economic spin-offs six times greater than average. And we’ve only just started to scratch the potential of liquefied natural gas.

But if you think the Interior is a one-trick economic pony, with just forestry and mining, you couldn’t be more wrong.

In the land of beaches and peaches, an eye-popping study by Accelerate Okanagan shows a fast-growing tech sector that has taken the region by storm. Kelowna is now home to more than 12,000 tech jobs, contributing $1.67 billion to the regional economy.

Nearly 700 tech-related businesses are registered in Kelowna – up 24 per cent since 2013.

Jennifer Vincent, an economic development specialist with the City of Penticton, wants B.C. to know “there’s lots going on here.” The local job board routinely has nearly 200 postings per day.  If you’re nearby, drop by FutureBiz Penticton, the city’s economic outlook forum on November 8th.

Speaking of job opportunities, Horizon North’s Rod Graham wants to hear from you. Horizon North’s Centre of Excellence in Kamloops is turning business heads throughout North America, producing modular luxury homes, affordable housing, hotels, schools and work camps.  Like so many Interior businesses, their biggest challenge is attracting the skilled workforce to meet an overwhelming demand.

And finally, we’ll end this inaugural edition of “The Price is Right” with a mouth-watering success story in Vernon.

In the city where Kal Tire and Tolko Industries are headquartered, economic development officer Roy Nuriel likes to tell the story of Andrew McWilliam, who typifies the Interior’s economic potential. From humble beginnings as a business on a cart, Ratio Coffee and Pastry is now a bustling must-stop. Long lineups are common as they often sell 2,500 specialty donuts in a matter of hours.

Next week, we point north with stops in Williams Lake, Quesnel and Prince George.

Thanks for reading.

 

Bob Price is a veteran B.C. broadcaster who anchored the morning news on CHNL radio in Kamloops for the past 30 years. Bob is also a past Webster Award winner whose previous stops included Vancouver and Calgary. 

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