The Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce went with a different approach as it hosted the annual Mayors and Planners Breakfast Thursday morning at the Village Green Hotel.
Acting on feedback from previous years, the chamber added a roundtable discussion to promote better interaction between attendees and local government representatives.
“They were able to hear all the wonderful things that are going on in the community, but they weren’t able to present their concerns or ideas,” said chamber GM George Duffy, of the reasoning for the roundtable.
“In a large group format that can be tough. It can be awkward to put up a hand and say something they feel is a little controversial. We wanted to break people up into smaller, more intimate groups to have the conversation go back and forth.”
Unfortunately for the ever-enthusiastic Patrick Nicol, chairperson of Regional District of the North Okanagan, it left him with less time to expound upon the goings on in the area. He was tactfully reined in by chamber events co-ordinator Kim Bourke, earning a chuckle from a crowd of more than 90.
Other speakers included Vernon Mayor Rob Sawatzky and Mike Reiley, the new director of development services for the District of Coldstream. Reiley was subbing in for Mayor Jim Garlick.
Each speaker addressed the current issues and achievements in his particular region. Some of the topics covered included meat regulations, the new sports facility, OCP reviews, public transit and the rising demand for parks and trail systems.
Afterwards, participants were invited to roam the conference room and drop in on roundtable discussions, with topics ranging from economic development to engineering to regional growth strategies.
With Vernon and Coldstream both conducting official community plan reviews, and with the RDNO working on a number of surveys, Duffy said the roundtable was an ideal opportunity for participants to learn about them in more detail.