New president for chamber

Neil Wyper will be taking the helm of the Penticton and Wine Country Chamber of Commerce after an election at the chamber's annual general meeting on Wednesday.

Five directors returning for second year of a two-year term, while an election was held to fill the remaining 10 vacancies on the board.

Previously headed up by Michael Magnusson, the chamber voted Neil Wyper as board president during the AGM.

"I think we’ve got a great team; I’m really looking forward to the coming year,” Wyper said. “We’ve got lots of hard work behind us from last year, and I think we’re in a good position to do some exciting things for Penticton this year.”

With the chamber now fully moved into its new space, Wyper says he and the board can now focus on its other initiatives, including advocacy on the provincial and municipal level, including an all-candidate’s meeting.

“I think there’s a lot of room for us to work more closely with the city on issues as the come up,” he said, pointing to parking as an example. “I’d like to see us representing the business community, working really closely with the city instead of kind of more at a distance in the way we have been, perhaps, in the past.”

Wyper says the board will also be focusing on keeping its membership active and making membership more appealing for local businesses.

“I want to be able to give a clear answer to businesses about ‘this is why you should join and this is why you’re better off in your business and Penticton is better off having you in our chamber,’” he said. “We’ve got a lot of things on the go in terms of making it clear what the benefits are for members,” he added, noting in particular networking among businesses.

“Business After Business is a pretty well-attended event every couple of weeks, but it still only represents a small fraction of all of our members, but I’d like to see us do more to engage everybody.”

The full list of board members includes the new leadership:

  • President: Neil Wyper (Wyper Law)
  • Vice-President: Julie Read (Wildstone Group)
  • Treasurer: Tracy Van Raes (Total Restoration)
  • Past-President: Michael Magnusson (Cascades Casino)

Regular directors:

  • Director: Don Brown (Brown Benefits)
  • Director: Daryl Clarke (independent)
  • Director: Jason Cox (The People’s Soda)
  • Director: Harley Elasoff (The Sandman)
  • Director: Christine Felts (Felts Photo Services)
  • Director: Derek George (Boston Pizza)
  • Director: Natalie Grant (Grant Media)
  • Director: Deborah Moore (Remax)
  • Director: Leah Schulting (South Okanagan Medical Foundation)
  • Director: Tyson Still (Winecrush)
  • Director: Diana Stirling (LocoLanding)

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