Okanagan Partnershipship – WD Proposal (September 2008)
great deal of talent in addressing the challenges and opportunities that come our way. There
remain, however, opportunities for improvement.
First, there is a role for an organization to better understand the economy of the entire region.
There is some work being done in isolation from various regional and or local governments.
However, the opportunity exists to better understand the economy of the entire region and how it
may evolve in the future.
Secondly, there is an opportunity to provide a strategic framework for sustainable economic
development and diversification. The original work done by ICF in 2004 introduced a Cluster
Strategy. After addressing some initial opportunities, the cluster initiatives took a back seat to the
larger, overarching flagship initiatives. There is an opportunity, given that there has been
considerable knowledge gained about cluster development in the last 5 years, to come back and
revisit the Cluster Strategy as a framework for the entire region to diversify the economy from
forestry, construction and retail and focus on innovation by linking clusters to research and
Third, there is an opportunity to brand and market the Okanagan as one region. This will aid in
attracting international talent, tourism and investment.
Lastly, there is an opportunity to collaborate. Local governments, non-governmental
organizations (see appendix A for a list of government and NGOs in the region) and businesses in
the region are insightful and creative when it comes to problem solving. There is a tremendous
potential for learning from each other and achieving economies of scale by ensuring collaboration
in tackling regional issues and opportunities.
Okanagan Economic Development Project
The purpose of the project is to build the infrastructure that would 1) provide economic, social
and environmental information, 2) unite the region in a common economic development strategy,
and 3) provide a common view of the valley to national and international markets. The driving
force of such a strategy would be to ‘Ensure Sustainable Prosperity for the Okanagan’. Valley wide
focus and collaboration will be held through regularly scheduled forums and roundtables with all