Premier John Horgan, right, walks with Hardy Wentzel, CEO of Structurlam in Okanagan Falls in this 2019 file photo. Structurlam, which employs around 200 people, is one of the leading economic drivers in Okanagan Falls. (Black Press file photo)

Premier John Horgan, right, walks with Hardy Wentzel, CEO of Structurlam in Okanagan Falls in this 2019 file photo. Structurlam, which employs around 200 people, is one of the leading economic drivers in Okanagan Falls. (Black Press file photo)

Economic recovery emphasized for Okanagan Falls

Small community in South Okanagan has been struggling since before COVID-19 pandemic

An economic development and recovery plan for the community of Okanagan Falls outlines strategic directions for the community and urges action for stakeholders to contribute to the success of the community.

The plan was presented to the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen during the Sept. 3 board meeting.

“Okanagan Falls has suffered from a gradual economic decline and COVID-19 has exacerbated this trend,” the report states.

“There is a need for a new strategy to reverse this trend and build momentum in the community.”

READ ALSO: Affordable housing project in Okanagan Falls ready for tenants

READ ALSO: RDOS approves cannabis location for Okanagan Falls

The report was presented by Brad Dollevoet of Kettle Valley Construction.

Okanagan Falls, with a population of around 2,500, is the largest unincorporated community within the regional district.

The community has some substantial economic drivers including Structurlam, which specializes in innovative wood products and employs 200 people. Unit Electric Engineering Ltd. has its head office in Okanagan Falls and employs 100 people. The community also has several wineries.

However, despite growth in some sectors, the community is now stagnant, the report states.

“A once blossoming small community, its economic fortunes have suffered from a gradual decline.”

The only local grocery store closed its doors in September, 2019.

And during the COVID-19 pandemic, approximately 90 per cent of the service-based businesses in the community saw a complete revenue loss from mid-March to mid-May.

The report offers several goals for the community.

These include making Okanagan Falls attractive for young families, providing business support, building the community as a tourism destination, improving and beautifying the downtown and building on existing community amenities.

“Many of these action items will require collaboration with different organizations for them to be successful, so a strong working relationship with the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen, Okanagan Falls organizations and residents will be required moving forward,” the report states.

The plan calls for the goals in the report to be completed by the fall of 2022.

To report a typo, email:

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A map released by the BCCDC on Jan. 15 shows the number of new COVID-19 cases reported for each local health area between Jan. 3 and 9. (BCCDC Image)
Salmon Arm and Vernon see increase in new COVID cases, curve flattening elsewhere

The rate of new cases is levelling off in Kelowna, Penticton and Revelstoke.

The Premier Hotel on Summerland’s Main Street and the taxi were owned by Bill and Lydia Johnston. Today, the building is Sass Fashions in Summerland. H.S. Kenyon, who moved the building to Summerland from Midway, continued with building construction. His family now operates Greyback Construction. (Photo courtesy of the Summerland Museum)
Two former Summerland hotel buildings have been moved over the years

Transport of buildings is part of community’s history

Interior Health update. File photo.
86 new COVID-19 cases, two more deaths in Interior Health

The new deaths are from Heritage Square, a long-term care facility in Vernon

Caroline McKay
COLUMN: Bring books out of hibernation for the new year

Plenty of lesser-known works from famous authors available from the library

Nate Brown photo
Okanagan-Shuswap says goodbye sunshine, hello winter

Temperatures are forecasted to drop by mid-next week

Keith the curious kitten is seen on Nov. 4, 2020 at the Chilliwack SPCA. Friday, Jan. 22, 2021 is Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Jan. 17 to 23

Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day, Pie Day and International Sweatpants Day are all coming up this week

Half of the most expensive homes are on 2080 Mackenzie Crt, which is across the street from Revelstoke Mountain Resort. (Liam Harrap/Revelstoke Review)
The 10 most valuable homes in Revelstoke for 2020

Combined, the properties are worth more than $35M

Lake Country native Evan-Riley Brown is in the cast for the new film Journey To Royal: A WW II Rescue Mission to be released on video on demand and streaming services on Feb. 2. (Contributed)
Okanagan actor lands role in WW II movie

Evan-Riley Brown, from Lake Country, cast in production labelled as hybrid of a feature film and documentary called Journey To Royal: a WW II Rescue Mission.

JaHyung Lee, “Canada’s oldest senior” at 110 years old, received his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. He lives at Amenida Seniors Community in Newton. (Submitted photo: Amenida Seniors Community)
More than 20 days have passed since the last case of COVID-19 was confirmed at Lakeside Manor. (File photo)
Salmon Arm retirement facility reopens social areas after COVID-19

More than 20 days have passed since last confirmed case at Lakeside Manor

A unique-looking deer has been visiting a Nanoose Bay property with its mother. (Frieda Van der Ree photo)
A deer with 3 ears? Unique animal routinely visits B.C. property

Experts say interesting look may be result of an injury rather than an odd birth defect

Standardized foundation skills assessment tests in B.C. schools will be going ahead later than usual, from Feb. 16 to March 12 for students in Grades 4 and 7. (Black Press Media file photo)
B.C. teachers say COVID-affected school year perfect time to end standardized tests

Foundational skills testing of Grade 4 and 7 students planned for February ad March

Sooke’s Jim Bottomley is among a handful of futurists based in Canada. “I want to help people understand the future of humanity.” (Aaron Guillen - Sooke News Mirror)
No crystal ball: B.C. man reveals how he makes his living predicting the future

63-year-old has worked analytical magic for politicians, car brands, and cosmetic companies

Terry David Mulligan. (Submitted photo)
Podcast: Interview with longtime actor/broadcaster and B.C. resident Terry David Mulligan

Podcast: Talk includes TDM’s RCMP career, radio, TV, wine, Janis Joplin and much more

Most Read