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Opinion  

Positive signs easy to find

The loonie may be languishing and oil may be in the toilet, but there are plenty of positive economic signs in the Central Okanagan.

Kelowna city council heard Monday that development permits hit their highest level since 2010 this past year and reached $91 million in the fourth quarter alone. Single-family home permits are also at their highest level since 2007. 

Real estate divisional director Doug Gilchrist delivered the good news to council. But you don't have to take his word for it.

Just look all around you for proof the Central Okanagan is trucking along just fine, in spite of federal and provincial budget woes. Governments will cope with the loss in revenue from oil royalties, but the flip side is the lower loonie is helping Canadian manufacturers and exporters – including those right here in the Okanagan.

It's what's happening here at home that has the most effect on us all. And those signs are looking up.

Kelowna's YLW recently surpassed the 1.6 million passengers a year mark and has set record increases in each of the past 24 months.

In downtown Kelowna, we've seen the construction of a new yacht club, revitalized Bernard Avenue, a new walking pier, and work is underway on two massive projects – the Okanagan Innovation Centre and, just across the corner, a new Interior Health headquarters.

A total of 9,251 business licences were issued in 2014 – 1,424 of them new businesses.

As well, a major new hotel has been approved for the downtown waterfront and is set to break ground later this year.

All these indicators show a renewed faith in the city by developers and investors. Target may be closing, but all is not doom and gloom.

— News Director Jon Manchester

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