Now he is all business

Working with and attracting new business to a city is nothing new for Jim Paterson.

Kelowna Mayor Walter Gray announced, in open council Monday, Paterson would assume the city's newest position, Executive Director of Business Development.

Paterson had a similar role with the City of Winnipeg before being recruited by Kelowna to take over as Community Sustainability General Manager in 2008.

"I've been playing the role off the side of my desk for sometime - now, I'll be more effective liaising with the business community, determining their needs and perhaps how we can make the city more conducive to service the local business community," says Paterson of his new role.

"When new businesses or investors come into town and want to speak with people of influence, be it the mayor, city manager or city planner, I should be there to provide that welcoming face and offer assistance to try and facilitate their investment in the city."

One of his first projects will be to develop a downtown prospectus with the Downtown Kelowna Association.

"We've got some great activities happening in the downtown area, the Bernard Avenue revite, the IH facility, the new parkades," says Paterson.

"They will prove to lever some new investment, there's no doubt."

Paterson says his position will be similar to that of Economic Development Commissioner, Robert Fine with one major exception.

The EDC has more of a worldwide focus while Paterson says his focus will be narrower in scope.

"I will work with the chamber to determine how we can change our services, provide better services from the one counter window - business licences, building permits - those types of things."

One innovation he would like to see is a service window inside City Hall staffed by people outside city hall who could provide expertise specific to small business.

Paterson says this type of model is currently being utilized in New Brunswick.

"As federal and provincial offices downsize locally there is a potential to share that service through a single window where three levels of government services are accessed," says Paterson.

"Those are models I think that are necessary for us to consider now so perhaps we can address those needs in the shorter term."

Paterson's new job begins immediately.

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