Sep 14, 2012 / 5:06 pm
Describing Kelowna as an undiscovered jewel, Scottsdale, Arizona, Mayor Jim Lane expressed his optimism at the potential benefits of the recently established Kelowna Scottsdale Business Council (KSBC) during a round table discussion in Kelowna Friday morning.
A day after the five-member delegation from Scottsdale arrived for three days of meetings with local political and business leaders, Lane and his representatives had nothing but praise for the area.
"Its been an intoxicating experience," joked Lane, alluding to the tour of some Okanagan wineries on Thursday.
"We've had meetings in Scottsdale subsequent to this, to try to see what kind of compatibility, what kind of synergism we might have here with Kelowna. We're looking forward to accomplishing some great things for our respective communities in the sense of business development."
Friday's round table included presentations from two Kelowna businesses, Metabridge and Accelerate Okanagan, who used the opportunity to show what they could do for Scottsdale as well as one from the visiting delegation touting the benefits of their community.
The two cities are similar in population, with Scottsdale home to just over 217,000 residents. However, the metro area around Scottsdale is home to over 4.4 million people, roughly equal to the population of BC.
For Okanagan entrepreneurs looking to make inroads south of the border, the attraction is obvious. The benefit for Kelowna also comes from making a connection to Scottsdale residents who might previously have been unaware of the potential, north of the border.
Lane admits that while he wants to promote his city as a business and tourist destination, he also feels it will be a two way street, and that once people from Scottsdale become aware of Kelowna, they will see the opportunity available here.
"Tourism leads to business development."
When Lane became mayor four years ago, Scottsdale was in the midst of a massive economic down-turn and he was determined to pull his city out of it.
"We created an environment that was encouraging for business development. In those efforts we turned to the international markets in an effort to attract businesses."
It was that mandate which made this partnership agreeable.
The delegation then made a presentation to members of Kelowna City Council and members of the KSBC touting the benefits of doing business there.
"It's (Scottsdale) an area that has just blossomed," says Lane.
He pointed to a vibrant technology centre which has grown through his council's initiatives. It has also become home to a number large corporations like General Dynamics, GoDaddy, Henkel, Taser and the Mayo Clinic.
Also, Scottsdale is home to major events like the Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Auction which attracts over 200,000 spectators every year and the Phoenix Open PGA Golf Tournament which draws over 500,000 people during the four day event.
"I think there is a huge opportunity for all of us here and we're very glad to be engaged in this conversation," says Lane.
A conversation which will continue in the future.
The KSBC is already planning for a return visit to Scottsdale sometime in the new year to give Kelowna the chance to promote itself as both a business and a tourist destination to politicians and business leaders there.
Castanet is a co-sponsor of the tour with the city of Kelowna. We will have more news as we follow the delegation around the city this weekend.
Read more Kelowna News
City of Kelowna
Kelowna Discussion Forum
Kelowna's Cultural District
Kelowna Road Closures
William R. Bennett Bridge
Central Okanagan Regional District
District of Peachland
District of Lake Country
School District 23
- Liberal triumph good for business May 15
- Mission Creek flood watch lifted May 14
- Paving coming to a road near you May 14
- Two-wheel transportation turns the tide May 14
- Capital spending may top $500M by 2020 May 14
- Kelowna Council highlights May 13
- Water Quality Advisory - Black Mountain May 13
- May Day parade set for Saturday May 13
- Flood Watch May 13
- Week in Review May 12