Similkameen Country Development Association (SCDA) is a non-profit Society in BC run by a Volunteer Board of Directors elected from the Society’s members. SCDA’s purpose is to increase awareness of the region’s location, highlight tourism assets and business opportunities, maintain Chamber of Commerce services and provide tourism and information services to the South Similkameen.

In 2022 we saw numerous staff and director changes. Vanessa Schwoegler-Abbott was hired to administer the Society’s business, oversee the operations of the Chamber of Commerce as well as the Keremeos Visitor Information Centre. We are grateful to have an enthusiastic Administrator to support the goals of the Board!

To run the Visitor Information Center, we receive funding from Destination BC and have a Service Agreement with the Village of Keremeos and Regional District Areas B & G. The Visitor Center collects important visitor data, encouraging the development of tourism industry and the overall promotion of the community. Right now, only a small part of our earnings come from chamber membership dues.

With limited funding and limited participation on the Board, guiding the Society’s business and setting strategic priorities for its activities, this has been a challenging year. Yet we safely hosted multiple events with scant resources and volunteers: Christmas Light-Up parade, Canada Day, the ongoing Community Market in Pocket Park, and the return of the Similkameen Sizzle.

Behind the scenes, the new team has been working hard to establish modern, transparent and professional procedures, to increase confidence and trust of our funders, members and community members, and to become more visible and accessible with electronic communications and promotion. SCDA has been working with a third-party bookkeeper to establish clear accounting protocols to support financial and contract reporting for various Society activities.

Yet there is much work to do: establishing consistent policies and procedures, consistent Board governance practices, file systems that remain in office as volunteer board members come and go, volunteer recruitment and retention for board, events and activities, and updating important documents. Just recently, we were awarded grant funds to hire a grant writer, to seek additional funding to support core and new activities for our members.  

Similkameen Country loves our region and wants a strong voice representing the diverse businesses of our community, locally and further afield. When you join the Chamber of Commerce you are automatically a member of the Society. However, you can also join the Society to support tourism, visitor services and local events that celebrate and enrich our area.

For the SCDA to continue to improve and better represent our regions’ business and tourism interests, we need members, member feedback and Directors. Similkameen County’s Annual General Meeting is scheduled for October 3, 2022. Please consider joining the Similkameen Country Development Association, and perhaps serving on the Board.

Stay connected with us, follow us on Facebook (@SimilkameenCountry), Instagram (@Similkameen_Country) and check out the rest of our website ( Ideas or questions are always welcome. To get in contact with the Administrator, email or visit the Similkameen Country Visitor Centre in Keremeos during opening hours.