Friday, October 21, 2011

Port Moody SPIKE business awards

Wow... another unbelievable evening celebrating Port Moody businesses !

In 2004 the city started an event called the 'Spike Awards', honouring Port Moody businesses and recognizing those that go far beyond the 'standards' in their industries.    The event was held in 2004/5/6/7 and then took a two year hiatus.

After I was appointed the chair of the Economic Development Committee in 2010, the first thing I wanted to do was to bring back the Spike awards. We were on a very tight timeline, with planning only starting in July , but , I know how much this event means to the local business community and many of them take true inspiration from the nominations - not to mention the networking opportunity.  We were able to pull the event together, and this year was even bigger and better, including a very informative session from none other than Dave (dont call me a social media guru) Teixeira from communications ( .

The Spike Awards invite the residents/consumers in the area to nominate their favorite business in a number of categories, to be recognized for their outstanding performance, service, offerings or ideas.  This year we received HUNDREDS of nominations for hundreds of different Port Moody businesses.  It is clear in comparing the years of the awards event that (A) There are many repeat nominations, and its great to see companies not just surviving but flourishing.  And (B) There are many NEW nominations, and companies are continuing to open in Port Moody as they appreciate the positive business climate and the opportunity to showcase their business to an appreciative population.

The strength of our local business community is a testament to good community planning, and both the developers and the city should be congratulated for their vision and concepts that they have brought to the city.   It truly is amazing to talk to the various business owners and managers in Port Moody and to hear what is going on in all of the different sectors - and everyone is always positive and looking forward to a long future in our city, and I'm so thankful for that.

Further evidence to the strength of our local businesses is the number of entries we received from those who live OUTSIDE of Port Moody, and, the number of companies that were nominated in multiple categories.  

This year the categories, and the award winners were:

Arts in Business - Veracis Meditation and Wellness Centre - 86 Moody Street @ St Johns -

Veracis were overwhelmingly recognized by a clearly loyal customer base, as being true to their goals of being " .. a sanctuary of inner peace, where meditation is the link to health and wellness. Our holistic approach to healthy living is centered in the healing arts, where spiritual consciousness and healing is nurtured through registered and drop in meditation classes, yoga, fitness, healing therapies and retreats."    The incorporation of art in the business is reflective of the City of the Arts, and this was a well deserved recognition.

Street Appeal - The Village Toy Shop - Newport Village -

Kirsten has been in Newport Village since 2001 after spending years working in her families business on Granville Island, and this store puts smiles on faces of everyone, young and old.  Having a particular focus on educational and environmentally friendly products, the toy shop was nominated in several categories this year, but, stood out for recognition of the wonderful store front displays that attract passers by each day.  Great job Kirsten and your crew !

Customer Service Award - by Berit Boutique - 2335 Clarke Street near Queens

by Berit, owned coincidently by Berit, is a clothing store with a difference.  Berit's customers come from all over the lower mainland, and beyond, to shop in a warm, comfortable store in Port Moody's heritage district.  Berit sells original and eclectic,  elegant and exquisite pieces and the comments received on the nominations demonstrated that by Berit is providing extraordinary customer service that the customers return for.  This was a tough category with MANY nominations , and the recognition here shows the respect and dedication Berit has for her business and her customers.  Congratulations.

Technology and Innovation Award - Pacific Coast Terminals - by the big yellow piles !  -

Pacific Coast Terminals established their home in Port Moody in 1960 and has been a fixture in the community since, not only due to the distinctive product (sulphur) that they handle , but for their contribution to the community and residents.  In 2010, PCT opened their site to celebrate their 50th anniversary as part of Golden Spike Days, on an even larger scale than they usually do, and thousands of Port Moody and lower mainland residents marvelled at the technology that they have in place on their site.  Much of this technology is contributing to improving their green footprint also, including their innovative water management system and their fleet of all electric vehicles.  Congratulations to Ken, Wade and everyone at PCT for working hard to earn this recognition.

Environmental Award - Inlet Seafoods - Newport Village - 

With over 30 years of experience in the fish business, Malcolm knows how to deliver a quality product, and Port Moody is lucky to have such a professional and dedicated business owner in our midst.  Malcolm has made a particular effort to only sell WILD salmon and to support the Oceanwise program of sustainable seafood 'harvesting'.  The business also uses reusable and recyclable packaging materials and encourages their customers to become educated on their products and the value of supporting sustainable practices in an industry that has been seriously diminished due to bad practices.  Congratulations Malcolm for showing that good environmental practices are also good financial/sustainable practices, and for delivering a superior product to the tri cities.

Tourist Destination Award - Rocky Point Kayak - Rocky Point -

When Jamie Cuthbert started Rocky Point Kayak in 2001, he was indeed a small fish in big pond.  The more established and widely known kayak rental operations of Eco Marine on Granville Island and Deep Cove Kayak captured most of the market when people thought of going out for a paddle.  Eleven seasons later, the hard work and dedication Jamie and his staff have shown for the business , and Port Moody, and with the support of the city , Rocky Point Kayak is now known throughout the region and is a draw to bring visitors to Port Moody that may not otherwise visit here.  Tourism has obvious spin off effects and Jamie has partnered with many other local businesses and events, and the continued growth is a testament to a great business operating in a great location.  Congratulations Jamie and all the staff at Rocky Point Kayak.

The fun part , and conclusion of our evening was the one minute pitch 'competition' - businesses are invited to pitch their exciting or innovative business idea, product or offering, in 60 seconds or less.   This was something we started last year and it really is a lot of fun.

This year's 'pitchers' were:

Berit - from by Berit 
Kris - from Innovative Fitness
Joye - from Joye Design
Lisa - from Mint Hair Lounge
Tatyana - from la Boutique Plus
Tracy - from the Conversation

ALL did an incredible job of standing up in front of 100+ of their peers and doing a little 'bragging' .  We learned a lot in a minute, and everyone enjoyed the pitches.

The judges declared the winner to be:  Kris from Innovative Fitness - and, maybe ironically, Kris takes home 6 months worth of passes for the Port Moody Recreation Centre .. actually, that might tie in nicely !

A huge thank you,

For the door prize donations:
 Pajos -
 il Destino Salon and Spa -
 Rocky Point Kayak -
 The Boathouse -
 The Runners Den -

For Our one minute pitch judges:
 Michael Hind from the Tri Cities Chamber 
 George Bountalas from Royal Bank.

And our truly inspirational and comedic guest speaker, DaveDotCa

Congratulations again to EVERYONE who took part that owns, manages or works at a business in the best city on the planet.  You make all of our lives better every day !

Friday, October 7, 2011

Translink Funding - gas tax or bust

So the Translink mayor's council is about to vote on a funding package for Translink that includes 2 cents per litre gas tax, and property tax for 2 years as a back stop while they seek an alternate source of $30-40 million per year. 

Many mayors are opposed to property tax funding Translink, and a few are going to vote against this package because of it.  But it will pass.  Because it has to.  Because nobody has any better ideas.  (ok , update, now its passed)

SO .. then what ?

So , for Port Moody, it means it's time to get on with planning our community in the new reality of skytrain coming through Moody Centre.   It's time to do some planning and develop a vision of what we want in our city and how it will evolve. 

We know that Skytrain will bring/demand/create more density around the stations, which, in our case, means the entire Moody Centre core.   We need to guide that process, not just stand on the sidelines watching (and complaining).

We've heard for too long that Moody Centre needs revitalizing, and seen nothing substantial done.  It's time we stepped up - as a council, as residents, as businesses - as a city.  No more finger pointing. No more 'waiting for..' to happen.  It's happening.  The Evergreen Line will change the north east sector like nothing has before.

We need to develop a plan that respects the heritage core of Moody Centre and the long time residents.  We need to develop a plan that brings new residents to support new business that serves ALL residents of the city, but particularly Moody Centre.  We need to develop a plan that the residents can be a part of and embrace and champion.  We need to develop a plan that protects our businesses and our local jobs, and provides opportunities for new business development in the 21st century economy.

And we need to manage our transportation network, regionally, to serve our residents and regional commuters.

Now that the plan is approved, the Evergreen line is moving forward, this isn't the END of this process by any means - this vote and this moving forward plan is the start of MANY MANY years of hard work and change in our city.

All aboard the Evergreen Line bringing change to the tri cities like we've never seen.

And remember the saying " Failing to plan is planning to fail " 
We need to get a plan working NOW.