People of Chilliwack

Ken Popove, Mayor of Chilliwack

“Our CEPCO partnership attracts business, big and small. We’re lucky to have such a great team at the table and a partnership that works for all of Chilliwack, and the Economic Partners is a unique situation. I’m super happy to have that type of corporation that does their work in the background to make Chilliwack a better place to live, have fun and do business. It’s interesting, there are things that the City doesn’t do, so they’re almost the arms of the City or an extension. They can purchase properties and create development partnerships with businesses like Molson Coors and Algra Bros Developments that make the City of Chilliwack such an exciting place to be. It really is a great partnership for everyone!”

Tim McAlpine, Currency Marketing; Cowork Chilliwack

“I love being involved in CEPCO and on the board of directors. CEPCO has such an impact for such a small entity. As we look around, the imprint of the Creative Commission is absolutely everywhere. For myself to have a seat at that table and have that kind of voice is unbelievable. I think CEPCO, having been in and around economic development for quite some time, is very unique. Other communities have tried to emulate it, but they haven’t necessarily been successful because there’s an immense trust between the city and the partners.”

Jacqueline Boer, Brightside Eggs and Market

“The Chilliwack Agricultural Commission showcases farming in the community, especially with the annual Chilliwack Agriculture Tour. It brings people to farms they have never visited, and educates them on how much agriculture impacts the community. The Commission is a sub-committee of CEPCO, and that has helped define and communicate the bigger picture. CEPCO’s interest in agriculture makes sure that it is a priority, and that is exciting to farmers as it is advantageous to the community as a whole and to the sustainability of agriculture in Chilliwack.”

Marc Griedanus, ER Doctor at CGH; Chilliwack Park Society

“I guess I’ve been surprised at the degree to which CEPCO and the City promote various things like business interests, culture and recreation, as well as attracting doctors to the area. I saw that as such a unique partnership. More specifically CEPCO has funded some of our trail initiatives like the trail at Lexw Qwò:m Park. I like to see that lifestyle played a part and was important. CEPCO also approached us to make a series of videos about COVID, to ease some of the anxiety around COVID, answer some questions and also make it clear that some businesses, like restaurants have done quite a bit of work to be safe places. That showed me that this partnership, specifically CEPCO, cared about a healthy community.”

Sandra Bonner-Pederson, Bear Image Productions

“I was approached by the Chilliwack Economic Partners Corporation to be a part of the Chilliwack Creative Commission (a sub-committee of CEPCO). Seen as a creative person in my own community, it was a bit nerve-racking to share that creativity in a different space. The Creative Commission was a place where I got to connect with others and share my creativity, culture and people. I realized that it opened doors for me and connected me with the bigger community. The Creative Commission allowed me to broaden my horizons and allowed me to speak and share outside of the First Nations Community, and I realized this partnership has an underlying sentiment of trying to bridge the communities.”


Brian Minter, Minter Country Garden; Tourism Chilliwack

“I have been on the CEPCO board for about 12 years and was brought in through Tourism Chilliwack. I think all of us who have had the privilege of serving on the board, bring a background to CEPCO. Having that diverse background, CEPCO is able to make decisions based on broader values. I think that’s really what it’s all about. The thing is, CEPCO is an unknown factor, a lot of people don’t understand the work and the connections they create in the community. CEPCO is about people who really care deeply about this community and the future of Chilliwack.

Looking at the businesses within the community, is there a balance? Is there an opportunity for young people? It’s very, very broad in terms of the approach with community planning and what the people of Chilliwack would really like. We’re servants of the community trying to understand what is needed and how to best bring the economic factor to benefit our community through partnerships.”

Ruth Maccan, Prospera Credit Union; Downtown Chilliwack BIA

“Our BIA relationship with CEPCO is very collaborative, and I think one thing I’m really pleased about is, just in the last year or so, a greater intentional focus to really work collaboratively. CEPCO has many partners within the City that can offer advice and leverage that collaboration. The Chilliwack Economic Partners have so much value in that they have sat on boards like the BIA and Tourism, and understand how to guide and assist one another. From advice to strategy, they are available to their partners and everyone benefits.”

Dave Leger, H2 Portable Power

“The Chilliwack Innovation Network offers everybody in the room an opportunity to know each other, and the moving pieces that are happening around you, that you wouldn’t know about unless you participate. We all do something different and that’s key to partnerships. There’s Sto:lo partners, people from the city, planners and a good mix of people from business. I’m the tech kind of guy in the room and through collaboration, you can spot opportunities and connect dots. It really helps ideas happen and partnerships build.

Much like the collaboration between myself at H2 Portable Power and Tycrop Manufacturing, the relationships with CEPCO and the innovative ideas of Scott and the team at Tycrop helped this project come to life. CEPCO really brings those opportunities to the table by inviting everyone to share their ideas. When a group of people share their ideas that’s when you problem solve and design solutions, which begins this incredible process of engineering and manufacturing by piecing the ideas together. The Innovation Network allows us to share ideas, let other stakeholders in and everybody wins.”

Lenore Newman, University of the Fraser Valley Food and Agriculture Institute

“As a Canada Research Chair at UFV and the Director of the Food and Agriculture Institute at UFV, I’ve greatly enjoyed working with CEPCO. A good relationship between local organizations such as CEPCO and university research units can be very valuable, and in general, CEPCO has helped to direct interesting research questions to UFV and has helped us publicize our results. I particularly value CEPCO’s support and input into our work on the Agricultural Land Reserve. CEPCO’s support helped hire several students and their input and networking helped us to make sure our recommendations and mapping are of value to the local government and the agricultural community.

As an applied researcher I love solving “real world problems” at the local level. I love bringing together different stakeholders to work towards a solution. What excites me is helping in a small way to shape the future of our community, to see our research making life better for local business and industry.”

Matthew Hawkins, Around Chilliwack

“I had this idea years ago, of Around Chilliwack, where to shop, where to eat, things to do in Chilliwack. The people I was meeting through CEPCO, through the Creative Commission, were connecting me with all sorts of cool, interesting and creative people and I decided I’d start a podcast. I created “Around Town in Chilliwack” and started off with 8 people. I did two seasons of it. Slowly I started building this boutique website. CEPCO and the Creative Commission really aligned me and pointed me in the direction I needed to go. I got to connect with other really creative people, and it gave me a chance to come up with ideas and network. CEPCO has connected me to projects and they see the value of my work in the community. It’s a lot of partnership and volunteering on the boards with CEPCO, and if you’re involved you really get to invest in this community and give back to it and without them, we wouldn’t get to do that.”

Chief David Jimmie, Squiala First Nation

“Any partnership is a relationship, and I think you have to spend the time to understand one another before you can actually build on it. So I was actually happy to participate in the industrial landscape review because I’m familiar with it and I had just finished reading through a couple of reports and saw that value come through. For me, I always feel it’s important to get in and work on these committees to demonstrate that it’s not just a seat, but that I have value and get heard, beyond what the expectations are. A partnership is to work within the greater economy and understand all the moving parts and learn the process. I learned more through Brian Coombes, sitting on a committee and just hearing everybody’s thoughts, and it was respectful to allow everybody to have a voice throughout the process. We are building a relationship and can only expand on that!”

Trevor McDonald, Downtown Chilliwack Business Improvement Association

“The Downtown Business Improvement Association and CEPCO work together in attracting business to the downtown. CEPCO brings business to all of Chilliwack but our partnership is within the umbrella of downtown. Sharing a building with CEPCO, I am literally 20 steps away from the best advice I could ever have, and it’s just a really great resource. Brian Coombes (CEPCO’s President) has been a great mentor and also a great help in me learning and finding my way around courting new business into the downtown area. We work together. The idea, of course, is to fill every business and get a zero vacancy rate in the Downtown.”

Gerry Slykhuis, Chilliwack School District #33⠀

“CEPCO has assisted the School District in helping us identify properties that are for sale. Our District is one of the fastest-growing in the province and finding space can be challenging. The land for the new Stitó:s school as well as Imagine High at the former UFV site, were identified by CEPCO as opportunities to purchase the property. They’ve been a really great partner to the District in assisting us with the growth in the community.”⠀

Jason Lum, City of Chilliwack Councillor

“I’ve had a unique relationship with CEPCO because I worked with CEPCO when I was first out of university. I’ve had some involvement with almost every committee and subcommittee and it impacted me in a really positive way by giving me a broader understanding of what CEPCO does in terms of community building, what it does in terms of not pure economic building, but what it does to improve the quality of life for the people in Chilliwack. I think that’s incredibly important, but I also think it’s a little bit misunderstood how much work the economic development office does in terms of attracting and facilitating economic growth and also in community development – whether it’s healthcare and physician attraction, or promoting and assisting with Tourism.⠀

If you get into the structure of it (which is probably the most important part), CEPCO is a corporation that is fully owned by the citizens of Chilliwack essentially. We are the shareholders of this economic development office. It’s a unique model that has proven the test of time with the holistic value it delivers back to the community. Some people think CEPCO is only there to attract business and that’s it, but it’s not. To attract business, you have to build the kind of community that businesses want to relocate to or start in, so you want to build the environment that’s conducive to that.” ⠀

Dave Algra, Algra Bros.

“When CEPCO bought the site that is now District 1881, they then became instrumental in figuring out who the City was going to sell the site to for redevelopment. We wouldn’t be building this project if it wasn’t for CEPCO, we’d be doing something else somewhere else. It probably wouldn’t be as fun as what this is. They recognized an opportunity that was a high risk opportunity, like a high risk, high reward scenario. I’d like to think they’re getting a high reward by taking that risk.”

Leanna Kemp, Chilliwack Chamber of Commerce

“The relationship that the Chilliwack Chamber of Commerce has with CEPCO has only strengthened both organizations. Brian and Netty and the whole team here are so knowledgeable. For me, having that resource right across the hall, in the same building, is invaluable. From the mentorship they provide and being able to go ask them anything at any time, to helping me connect to different industries. There is definitely not a closed door; they always make time for you. ⠀

I would say in the last three years, the partnership we’ve been able to create with CEPCO and the community, the relationships we’ve built, the programs and projects we’ve been able to do together, and so much more – it goes back to the Chamber’s motto of, “Better Together”. You can do so much more when you collaborate with another small team and increase your capacity and I think we’ve been able to do some really cool things. So to see that progress and to know that it stems from a partnership, and that organizations can actually work together and not be competitive is great. We do different things and we find a way to do what we do on our own, but we also have overlap and when we need to, we come together and we just make things happen.”⠀

Dr. Allison Salter and Elly Meyerink, Chilliwack Division of Family Practice

“They are so integral to our physician recruitment. CEPCO goes above and beyond; they’ve really made our recruitment process a red carpet recruitment package. Brian takes the doctors on a tour around Chilliwack and it really is the best part of the experience. Brian really does specialize and specify it to the interests of the physician and the family to give it that Chilliwack perspective and what their life could look like here. ⠀

I think with CEPCO participating in our recruiting efforts, it makes the physicians feel like the whole community wants them and that there’s a place for them here.” ⠀

Diane Janzen, Chilliwack Community Services

“I would say particularly in the last couple of years, CEPCO has been essential. So, very practically, CEPCO, with the City of Chilliwack, granted us the land for the new Paramount Project. We got that land as a gift from CEPCO and the City of Chilliwack to build those 66 units and the new space for CCS. It has been absolutely critical.⠀

The other thing I think is so important is the role of CEPCO in the downtown revitalization. For I would say 20 years, the City of Chilliwack as well as all of its citizens wondered what can we do to revitalize and make the downtown exactly what it should be, which is a jewel. They have done just that and it is amazing to see.⠀

I think overall though, CEPCO is really an unsung hero as they’ve been involved in this kind of economic work for many many years.”⠀

Stan Vander Waal, Rainbow Greenhouses

“I think it’s beneficial in the way that CEPCO acts as a facilitator, as it allows us to work through CEPCO to work through challenges – whether it be building permits, or where you can find a certain type of staff member. We have discussions with CEPCO and they’re great at finding those contacts that might help us to change the situation or find opportunities. ⠀

As a board member, I’ve seen firsthand what CEPCO does to involve itself in growing business in Chilliwack. Their goal is to help existing and new businesses to develop and facilitate their needs, whether it be City Hall or the business community as a whole.”

Meghan Larson, Farm Credit Canada

“My relationship with CEPCO has been really great to have a better understanding of what’s really going on in the community. Brian has been great in helping with workforce issues, so that insight has been helpful for me to help with other business owners. Also, in helping bring more business to the community, they are always building those relationships and connections. 

Everybody knows everyone and I think CEPCO has been really integral in putting people together, because they are really good at connecting partners that will work well together. Having people like CEPCO has helped keep that smallish feel even though our population is growing. You still get that small community vibe.”⠀

Kelly O’Brien, Rogers Foods

“When we were looking at expanding, we looked from Vancouver to Chilliwack and we had gone down to two locations, Chilliwack and Gloucester Estates. We’d actually made the decision we were going to go with Gloucester Estates and CEPCO got involved and they actually came out and gave us lots of information and helped us make the right decision, which was to move here to Chilliwack. ⠀

So without them, we wouldn’t be here. We would probably be in Langley. But it was a good choice and they helped us along all the way through getting building permits, working with the City, and with CEPCO it was so easy. When we did our expansion here, CEPCO helped push that through and get everything done, and helped us get things lined up so everything went easier; that’s why we’re here.”

Translate »