Devitt steps down from Penticton and Wine Country Chamber of Commerce

Penticton and Wine Country Chamber of Commerce’s executive director John Devitt has vacated the position.

The Penticton and Wine Country Chamber of Commerce will be looking for a new executive director after John Devitt announced his resignation.

The Penticton and Wine Country Chamber of Commerce will be looking for a new executive director after John Devitt announced his resignation.

Penticton and Wine Country Chamber of Commerce’s executive director John Devitt has vacated the position.

Devitt took on the role in the spring of 2013, and said it’s now time for him to explore new opportunities.

“There’s never a good time to resign because the chamber’s always in the middle of some project, so there are things I wish I could have seen through to completion, but it was the right time for me,” he said.

Devitt was at the helm during the deliberations and execution of Boonstock 2014, which was not a commercial success. He said he has no regrets as the concept was sound on paper, although he mentioned some ways in which the chamber could improve.

“A good learning experience from this is that as a community we need to do more to be supportive of new initiatives, including making sure that new entrepreneurs get the right support, education and help through the regulation process,” he said. “A lot more could have been done to help that event but hopefully something new will be able to replace it in a year or two.”

Devitt said Penticton is well-positioned to attract workers who earn their living in remote areas, such as the oil fields, but that method of recruiting residents spawns a new challenge – spousal employment.

“We want to make sure that we’re growing the pie, and not just taking more slices out of a smaller share that the tourism industry is struggling to share.”

Because Penticton’s economy is largely based upon tourism, Devitt said many local jobs don’t offer year-round stability, and he thinks growth in other local industries would be the best remedy.

While the chamber takes a neutral position in which politicians to support, the organization formed a list of questions around the business community’s top-of-mind concerns during the last municipal election and hosted an all-candidates forum.

“We circulated those to all the candidates in advance, and I think a lot of the folks that are in office now certainly took that to heart and had a look at those suggested ideas as a way to move things forward,” he said. “I think we had a pretty good impact on the election.”

He recalled an interesting debate between board members, when it was decided whether they should support the rezoning at 325 Power St. (to allow a hotel to be built over an existing baseball field), as members appreciated both the importance of recreational space and the strong business case for a new hotel.

“I’m really proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish here as a team,” he said. “We’ve had a great board of directors over the last couple of years. We’ve had a lot of changes but it’s been really good.”



Just Posted

(Pixabay photo)
Morning Start: Goosebumps helped scare off predators

Your morning start for Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Sue Birds captured this sunset photo that took place in between the rain and thunder Monday night, June 15, 2021. (Sue Birds)
Stormy sunsets over Okanagan Valley

Monday night had thunder, rain and stunning sunsets

Owner Daren McWhinney is really excited about the new location of Angry Vegan which just opened up at 536 Main Street. (Monique Tamminga Western News)
Penticton’s Main Street turns into foodie heaven

Angry Vegan, Wild Ginger, Twisted Chopsticks and Gratify recently opened

Penticton Overdose Prevention Society co-founders Desiree Franz, Shane Surowski and Stephanie Lines have created the city’s first unsanctioned public overdose prevention site using an old wine-tour bus. The site began operations in June 2021. (Desiree Franz/Facebook)
Volunteers launch Penticton’s first public supervised injection site

2021 is on pace to be the deadliest year for overdoses in Penticton on record

Four golfers from Fairview Mountain Golf Club in Oliver will golf from sunrise to sunset to raise funds for ALS on June 29. (Submitted)
Golfing from sunrise to sunset in Oliver for ALS

Four golfers from Fairview Mountain Golf Club have taken up the challenge June 29

People watch a car burn during a riot following game 7 of the NHL Stanley Cup final in downtown Vancouver, B.C., in this June 15, 2011 photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Geoff Howe
10 years ago: Where were you during the 2011 Vancouver Stanley Cup Riots?

Smashed-in storefronts, looting, garbage can fires and overturned cars some of the damage remembered today

Port Alberni court house (Alberni Valley News)
Coroners’ inquest into 2016 death of Port Alberni teen rescheduled for June 21

18-year-old Jocelyn George died of heart failure after spending time in jail cell

Children’s shoes and flowers are shown after being placed outside the Ontario legislature in Toronto on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Ontario commits $10 million to investigate burial sites at residential schools

Truth and Reconciliation Commission identified 12 locations of unmarked burial sites in Ontario

Two hundred and fifteen lights are placed on the lawn outside the Residential School in Kamloops, B.C., Saturday, June, 13, 2021. The remains of 215 children were discovered buried near the former Kamloops Indian Residential School earlier this month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Days after Kamloops remains discovery, Tk’emlups families gather to unite, move ahead

‘We have to work together because this is going to be setting a precedent for the rest of the country’

In this Saturday, May 29, 2021, file photo, people crowd the Santa Monica Pier in Santa Monica, Calif. California, the first state in America to put in place a coronavirus lockdown, is now turning a page on the pandemic. Most of California’s coronavirus restrictions will disappear Tuesday, June 15, 2021. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes, File)
With COVID tamed, it’s a ‘grand reopening’ in California

No more state rules on social distancing, no more limits on capacity, no more mandatory masks

Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price (31) is scored on by Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Alec Martinez, not pictured, during the second period in Game 1 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup semifinal playoff series Monday, June 14, 2021, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Habs fall 4-1 to Vegas Golden Knights in Game 1 of NHL semifinal series

Match was Montreal’s first game outside of Canada in 2021

(Dave Ogilvie photo)
One injured after being pinned by fallen forklift near Peachland

West Kelowna emergency crews responded to reports of a person stuck under a forklift

Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick, assistant deputy speaker at the B.C. legislature, presides over committee discussions. The legislature is completing its delayed spring session this week, with most MLAs participating by video conference. (Hansard TV)
B.C.’s daily COVID-19 infections dip below 100 over weekend

Only 68 new cases recorded Monday, four additional deaths

B.C. ambulance station in Revelstoke is expected to get a new system called the Scheduled On-Call (SOC) this fall. (Liam Harrap - Revelstoke Review)
B.C. ambulance changes could put Revelstoke residents at risk, warn local paramedics

Paramedics said to expect a substantial increase in ambulance response time starting this fall

Most Read