Business Excellence Awards a go despite wildfire setbacks

Awards moved from March to October which is Small Business Month

Despite moving the event from March to October this year and having the nomination period interrupted by wildfires the Business Excellence Awards will take place as planned on Saturday, Oct. 14.

The chamber had considered cancelling the awards altogether after the evacuation of Williams Lake in July but by then they had already started receiving nominations, said Claudia Blair executive director of the Williams Lake and District Chamber of Commerce which co-ordinates the awards.

“The awards recognize excellence in the previous year,” Blair said. “When you have 50 to 60 or more nominations in a year it would not be fair to the nominees to cancel.”

Last winter the Chamber made the decision to move the awards from March to October of this year and extend the nomination period to include all of 2016 and until the end of June 2017.

The nominations closed August 31 with 58 nominations being received in the various categories.

“With so many other events having to be cancelled this summer and fall because of the wild fires we didn’t want to become another casualty for our community,” Blair said. “It’s time to celebrate our community again and recognize the success and achievement the nominees have contributed. Some of the nominations come from the greater region, not just the Williams Lake area.”

She notes the awards were moved from March to October because there are usually a lot of competing events in the spring and many people are away for spring break or not back from winter vacations.

“October is also Small Business Month which is another reason to celebrate,” Blair said. “It’s good to change things up a bit.”

While the caterer and menu for the event have not yet been chosen she said the 22nd annual Business Excellence Awards gala will be returning to the Elks Hall with the theme Business in Motion.

“We will transform the hall into a beautiful gala setting,” Blair said.

Dale Taylor will be the master of ceremonies and entertainment will be an Elvis tribute by well known artist Steve Elliott. She said the executive has also made a decision to commit some of the net proceeds of the evening to a wildfire recovery fund.

In addition to a gourmet meal and presentation of awards the evening includes a silent auction fundraiser which helps to offset costs of operating the city’s year-round Tourism Discovery Centre.

“It is our only fundraiser of the year,” Blair said.

Tickets are $75 per person. People can call the chamber office at 250-392-5025 to reserve tickets which will be available soon.