Victor Cumming – Vernon, BC Mayoral Candidate


Current Situation

In the last four years much of the retail, tourism, restaurants and personal services part of the community’s economy was hit head on by the COVID 19 pandemic, causing many in those sectors to struggle to hang on. Other sectors including residential construction, the forest industry, health care, auto repair, outdoor recreation and many others have been stretched to the limit by the upsurge in demand. Vernon’s tourism industry has faired much better than most others in BC. Total value of building permits peaked in 2018, lowering in 2019 and suffering in 2020, returned in 2021 to the highest on record with increased activity and increased cost. Today, approximately 40% of all businesses are experiencing a labour shortage. The economy prior to the significant shift in interest rates, designed to lower inflation rates, was accelerating. It is too early to know what the actual impact from higher interest rates will be on our local economy as residential building permit numbers and values are on pace to match 2021’s record high.

Future Actions Required

  • Continued improvement in staff capacity in planning and engineering, and development approval systems to minimize time and cost of planning and implementing development projects.
  • Continue assisting tourism operators with diversifying their tourism markets, increasing their marketing and developing enhanced products.
  • Continuing collaboration with Community Futures Development Corporation of the North Okanagan’s implementation of the immigrant skilled workers pilot program.
  • Enhance the linkages between Okanagan College and UBCO graduates with local employers.
  • Secure land for the construction of non-market housing for those working in the community.