In his new role at Kelowna City Hall, Jim Paterson sees himself as something of a concierge.
But instead of serving hotel guests, Paterson will focus on meeting the needs of business people who want to set up shop in Kelowna or expand
He will give his first briefing to council on his roles and responsibilities as the city's first executive director of business development.
He was appointed to the position in November, having previously been the city's manager of corporate sustainability.
With economic uncertainty continuing, Paterson says, the city can't afford to be complacent in terms of attracting new business or helping established ones to expand.
A key goal for the city, Paterson says, should be to improve the climate for investment with transparent and streamlined regulations, and encouraging the sense that there is real value for the tax dollars paid by individuals and business owners.
Paterson will be the designated "advocate for business and economic development" within City Hall, and also be the main "champion" for promoting the interests of downtown Kelowna.
Potential investors who have typically met with Mayor Walter Gray or city manager Ron Mattiussi may continue to do so, but they will also be directed to Paterson's office for specific information on the best and most effective ways to navigate the municipal bureaucracy.
Paterson says he will "meet and greet, and vet, and triage business plans," and provide something resembling "a concierge service inside City Hall."
Specific goals will also be to encourage a UBC Okanagan or Okanagan College presence downtown, and study the feasibility of a major convention centre.
While people may always grumble about property taxes, Paterson includes some information in his report to council that shows Kelowna tax rates compare favourably with those in some other cities.
The owner of a $474,000 home in Kelowna, he says, would pay $3,053 in property taxes. The tax on similar homes would be $8,500 in Regina and $6,500 in Winnipeg.