By Cindy Filipenko
The Pemberton Chamber of Commerce has announced nominations for Citizen and Business Person of the Year. The voting procedure this year has a couple of substantial changes. First, it will be done online and will be open to everyone in the community.
“This is the first time for electronic voting,” said Shirley Henry, chamber secretary. “In the past the voting was also only open to chamber members. We thought it was only fair to get the rest of the community involved.”
In the business category, seven people have been nominated. Nominees were chosen based on their corporate and personal contributions to the community.
The nominees for Business Person of the Year are Frances Dickinson of Frances Felt, Pemberton Valley Supermarket owner/operator Mark Blundell, David MacKenzie, general manager of Pemberton Valley Lodge, Leah at The Twisted Whisker, Cam McIvor of Terrane Developments and Mike and Tanya Richman, the husband and wife team behind The Pony Espresso.
Blundell, MacKenzie and McIvor have repeatedly demonstrated their commitment to broad-based community initiatives. Others like Dickinson and Leah have been active in areas that are more specific, respectively the development of local artists and the formation of the Pemberton Animal Wellness Society. The Richmans’ re-established their iconic restaurant this year, providing the community with employment opportunities and the informal news source affectionately known as the “Bullshit Balcony.”
The Citizen of the Year nominees all share one common trait: exceptional volunteer service. Nominees in this category include Rotarian Lisa Ames, who spearheaded transforming the lands adjacent to the Pemberton Health Clinic into useable green space; Birken Fire Hall building champion and district director Val Bunt and Equifest founder Debra Esseltine.
Two other women associated with local institutions have also been nominated, former Village of Pemberton councillor and Smart Growth advocate Lynda Chandler; and head librarian Jan Naylor, who has been described as the “heart and soul” of the Pemberton Library for the past 25 years.
Dr. Hugh Fisher, nominated for his continued work with the community’s dragon boat teams, including the champion Laoyam Eagles, declined the nomination.
One of the nominees for Citizen of the Year is an organization. The Rotary Club of Pemberton Centennial was nominated because of its work with Earth Day, community clean-up days and the establishment of Rotary Park.
“Its extremely encouraging to have such strong nominees for the citizen and business person of the year,” said Paul Selina, chamber chair. “The successful entrepreneurs of today add strength to our economy for the business of tomorrow to build on.”
To cast your votes, go to:
The awards will be represented at the Chamber’s Christmas Dinner and Awards evening, Thursday, Dec. 7 at the Pemberton Golf and Country Club. Tickets are $25 and available in advance at the Pemberton Valley Supermarket.