Down to business with new director

Kelowna mayor, Walter Gray, has followed through on one of his election promises.

Nearly two weeks to the day after being elected, Gray announced Monday the appointment of an Executive Director of Business Development.

Jim Paterson, who up until now was the city's Community Sustainability General Manager, will assume the new position immediately.

Gray announced the appointment during Monday's open council meeting.

"One of the key platforms in my inaugural speech was business development and ensuring Kelowna was recognized as an outstanding place to conduct business," Gray told council.

"Earlier this year council developed its priorities for the 2012 to 2014 term. Key focuses included growing our economy and focusing on results. As a council, it is important to be able to facilitate potential business and investment opportunities benefiting our citizens."

Gray pointed to the proposed downtown Interior Health building as a way in which the city can play a part in stimulating business.

"Over the past year, Jim Paterson, has been shifting his focus to create a stronger link between business and City Hall. However, given the current economic environment, council felt we needed a dedicated person to focus solely on business development," added Gray.

"Jim will be that much needed link between business and city services and will work with key community partners such as the Economic Development Commission to facilitate new business development opportunities as well as support existing businesses."

Previously, Paterson served as director of economic development in Winnipeg before relocating to Kelowna.

He began working with the city in September, 2008.

"I often get calls from people who want to talk about business opportunities in Kelowna - but, in terms of holding them by the hand and moving them through the system, that is usually quite difficult for an elected official," added Gray.

Doug Gilchrist will assume Paterson's previous role as Community Sustainability General Manager on a temporary basis until a new person is found.

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