Penticton revitalization brings youth into the picture

Gerry Karr puts a dot on a big map representing work and play at the visioning session for the Downtown Revitalization Plan. The sessions are designed to be interactive, encouraging visitors to place sticky notes with their ideas right on the sign boards. - Steve Kidd/Western News
Gerry Karr puts a dot on a big map representing work and play at the visioning session for the Downtown Revitalization Plan. The sessions are designed to be interactive, encouraging visitors to place sticky notes with their ideas right on the sign boards.
— image credit: Steve Kidd/Western News

With the announcement of a new video contest, the downtown revitalization committee is following through on their promise that they weren’t only going to use traditional methods of gathering public input.

The first stage of public consultation on revitalizing downtown Penticton wrapped up Wednesday with a third open house at Okanagan College, and though they have gone well, the committee is already reaching out to younger people, via a video contest and opening up the conversation on social media channels using the hashtag #vibrantpenticton.

Now, the City of Penticton and the committee are asking youth and young adults to send them a multimedia message detailing their vision for downtown Penticton in the video contest.

“We are inviting all young people in the community to tell us what they think about Penticton’s downtown areas and how they can be improved for future generations,” said Barb Haynes, co-chair of the Downtown Revitalization Select Committee and executive director of the Downtown Penticton Association.

She’s already been talking to some young people, delivering presentations at area high schools.

“The kids had some really good ideas, were engaged in the process and wanted to provide their feedback. It’s encouraging to hear them really consider and care about, in this case, their downtown,” said Haynes. “It matters to them and I think that is very amazing.”

The genesis of the video contest, she said, was a desire to reach out to younger people.

“To get a sense of what they would like to see, what works for them, what they are passionate about and any ideas or concepts they might have that we could integrate,” said Haynes. “That was the process, finding ways that we could get some feedback and hear from them in a way that was unique and fresh.”

The contest is open to youth between the ages of 13 to 25 years who want to create a video that answers the question, “What’s cool about downtown Penticton?” Video entries will be judged and prizes will be awarded, with the winning entry receiving the grand prize of an iPad.

“Vibrant Penticton needs to hear the voices of all residents, no matter what their age might be,” said Haynes. “At the end of the day, that is who will benefit form the work that we do today, is the generations coming forward. We want to hear from them.”

The guidelines for the contest are that videos should be no more than three minutes long and cannot contain copyrighted material like video or music, but entrants are welcome to create their own soundtrack. The finished videos should be posted to YouTube, and a link emailed to, with “Video contest” in the subject line and the creator’s name and contact information. Entries must be sent in by June 4 at 3 p.m. A panel of judges will present the finalists to members of the Downtown Revitalization Select Committee, who will select the final winner.

The launch of the video contest coincides with the Vibrant Penticton downtown visioning sessions, which began Monday and kicked off a year of planning how a rejuvenated downtown Penticton might look according to the public.

Haynes is encouraged by the turnout for the first meetings and the number of people that wanted input in the planning process. Participants were encouraged to use sticky notes to share their ideas on a series of storyboards with information and suggestions about varied concepts and ideas for reworking downtown.

“By the end of the evening, you couldn’t see the printing, everything was just covered in sticky notes,” said Haynes. “People are excited to be asked and to be included and to be able to provide their input. It was a lot of fun and a great opportunity to connect to people again.”

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