First, we’d like to acknowledge and thank the Penticton Western News for its continued coverage and generous support of Okanagan College’s Centre of Excellence and the associated fundraising campaign at the Penticton campus. In so many ways, this is a good news story that the community is interested in reading about.
While the provincial and federal governments have both shown their commitment to this innovative project by providing almost $23 million in funding, the remaining $5 million will come from the community, with over $2.5 million already secured — a true testament to the significance of this project.
The Centre of Excellence has tremendous potential to transform our community. The jobs it has provided have already been of immense value during an economic downturn. The jobs that it will continue to provide are vital to our area’s economy. So too are the people it will train and educate.
That knowledge has spurred us to also lend our support to the fundraising campaign. As a group of professionals within the South Okanagan-Similkameen region, we realize how this project will shape the future of our community — certainly in terms of increasing close-to-home access to leading-edge educational opportunities for our youth. And of course, the estimated economic impact — an additional $41 million annually to the region — is significant.
But perhaps most important are the long-term effects of the Centre of Excellence. This new facility (one of the greenest of its kind in Canada) will attract and keep students in the Valley — injecting new life into our community. These are the people who will raise their families here, increase business activity in the community, and contribute to the development of our region.
It is with this in mind that we have pledged our personal commitment to the Centre of Excellence, and we urge others to consider joining us. Together, we can help this unique project realize its full potential — for our benefit and for the next generation who will learn here, live here and, at the end of the day, invest and prosper here.
Myers Bennett, Valley First; Jane Drapeau, National Bank Financial; Tom Kampman, Kampman Oliver Keene McAndrews; Dr. Gerry Karr; Ian S. Kennedy, White Kennedy, Chartered Accountants; Dr. Eric Ruby