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Community Excellence Awards

Celebration of Excellence

The Chamber of Commerce welcomed nearly 300 people to a stunning setting at the McLean Mill National Historic Site on Friday, June 10, 2022 to celebrate not one, but three years of excellence in the Alberni Valley. The event was held under the cover of a 4000 square foot tent provided to us by Black and White Events who also brought along a state of the art full service washroom with three stalls in it. Impressive to say the least!

The event opened with a welcome introduction by Bill Collette - Event Planner and CEO of the Alberni Valley Chamber of Commerce. Bill acknowledged the Indigenous Territories and then set the stage for the evening by announcing that the Chamber was providing awards for 2020, 2021 and 2022 as it opted not to go the way of virtual events for these important gatherings. That was followed by a formal welcome offered to us by Brandy Lauder - Elected Chief of Council for Hupacasath then another by Natasha Marshall - Councilor for Tseshaht First Nations. Natasha followed that with an introduction to Councilor Ed Ross who lead a group of Indigenous drummers for an even more impressive welcome to the territory.

Other speakers included: Terry Deakin President of the Chamber of Commerce, Kevin Sommerville - VP Operations for the San Group, both of whom were welcomed up by the Emcee for the evening - David Wiwchar of 93.3 The Peak.

David provided most of the humour for the evening and he also welcomed our keynote speaker - Bill Collins of Cascadia Seaweed to say a few words. David also read messages to the audience from our MLA Hon. Josie Osborne and our MP Gord Johns. We were fortunate to have Mayor Sharie Minions in attendance and she too had some wonderful words to share.

Prior to the awards being given out David invited Bill Collette back up to the podium so that he could provide the Chamber's thanks and recognition to the almost 40 corporate sponsors for this years event including Title Sponsor Robbins & Co., Silver Sponsor The San Group and Bronze Sponsor Black and White Events. The picture shown at the top of this page features many of the evening's sponsors and other supporters.

The evening then focused on the near 60 award winners announced by David as he introduced the 19 award categories. A fun time for all!

Please see below for a list of the Award categories along with information about the winners for the last three years.


Community Excellence Awards | Alberni Valley Chamber of Commerce (albernichamber.ca)


Silver Sponsor - The San Group / Pacific Mayfair Estates

We are pleased to confirm that BLACK AND WHITE PARTY RENTALS will provide us with high capacity tents, tables, chairs, linens, a portable dance floor, and more. Plus, the agreement includes a portable washroom facility that is like no other.

Decor will be provided by: Event Planning with Carol-Anne and Steampunk Cafe


This year's music plans could be a fun surprise for all! Like Jazz? Like old time professional jazz? Well, we are working on it! Sponsored by INEO Employment - remember to bring your dancing shoes!

Awards by: Coastal Flow Creative - Port Alberni

Sponsored in part by:

We thank The Peak 93.3 for supporting our Event. And, for including Mr. Wiwchar as our guest Emcee!

Keynote Guest Speaker - Mr. Bill Collins - Chairman - Cascadia Seaweed

William T. Collins


Bill’s career spans almost 40 years and evolved from success in international science to success in business on the world stage. Bill was trained as a geologist and received a Master of Science degree from Memorial University. Since moving to the Victoria area in 1994 Bill has been responsible for bringing a locally invented sonar system to the world stage including sales to more than twenty navies and government institutions. As part of the ownership group of an award-winning high tech company, Bill has filled many corporate roles including M&A activities. Bill has a passion for creating and executing sound business plans and a strong belief in Vancouver Island business growth opportunity.

Your Emcee's for the evening:

DAVID WIWCHAR: Born in Port Alberni, David got his start in radio in Nanaimo at 17. Working in newspapers and radio newsrooms from Vancouver Island to Edmonton, David returned to the Alberni Valley in 1998 as Managing Editor of the Nuu-chah-nulth newspaper ‘Ha-Shilth-Sa’ before becoming the Alberni / West Coast videographer / reporter for A-Channel / CTV news. He has been the Operations Manager, Sales Manager, News Director and Morning News Guy at 93.3 The PEAK (CJAV-FM) for the past 12 years. A proud member of the Port Alberni Toy Run, he has served as chairman for the past 10 years, and was named Chamber of Commerce volunteer of the year in 2018.

BILL COLLETTE: Bill was born and raised in Winnipeg and to this day continues to fight for his 'Jets.' Might be a lost cause but the battle rages. Bill spent much of his youth working in the bush in NW Ontario at one of Canada's first remote 'fly-in' fishing camps operated by his Uncle Alec and Aunt Louise. Following that he worked for 17 years in upper management with Western Inventory Service now known as WIS International. During his career with WIS Bill held positions in Winnipeg, Victoria and Vancouver with teams of as many as 400 employees. He and his wife Jennifer then ventured into their own businesses including MAD SCIENCE OF BRITISH COLUMBIA where Bill became known as Dr. Slime performing Science Shows throughout the Province including many remote First Nation Communities. After 8 successful years with the business the couple then ventured into a larger franchise operation building the Boston Pizza restaurant in Parksville BC. They sold that business in 2012 and shortly after moved to Port Alberni where Bill became the CEO of the Alberni Valley Chamber of Commerce.

And expect to see these folks on site for your thirst pleasures!

For your tummy that evening....

Delicious Finger Foods all evening by newly branded Bare Bones Fish House & Smokery

And to start you off you'll enjoy appetizers crafted by STEAMPUNK CAFE

Music for the evening

Quinn, Schulz and Shakur

Past Winners - Current Sponsors

Citizen of the Year:

This prestigious award has been sponsored by Arrowsmith Rotary for many years. Nominations for this award are collected by the Chamber of Commerce Awards Committee and in turn forwarded over to the Sponsor for their input and eventual determination of the winner. Nominees for the award are persons who demonstrate a major commitment to the betterment of the community through participation in community events and activities and have gone the extra mile by inspiring others to serve our region. Recent winners include: 2019 Winner - Sally Anderson2018 Winner - Dewayne Parfitt 2017 Winner - Jeff Cook - 2016 Winner - Patty Edwards

Business of the Year:

This award recognizes the businesses that have been long standing fixtures in the community. In business for more than five years the nominees are well known, are often modeled by newer businesses, and no doubt the ownership is very visible within the Community be it within Service Groups, on a Volunteer Role, or simply lending a hand where need be. Recent winners include: 2019 Winner - Jowsey's Furniture -  2018 Winner Naesgaard's Farm Market - 2017 Winner - Port Boat House - 2016 Winner - Hertel Meats

We welcome Coastal Community Credit Union as our new Sponsor for this Award

Ambassador of Service Award:

Sponsored by West Coast Home Hardware this award is given out annually to someone identified within the Community who defines Customer Service. Could be someone in the local coffee shop, at the fast food restaurant, or any restaurant for that matter. Simply let us know who rocks your world with superb customer service and we'll take it from there. Recent winners include: -  2019 Winner - Kim White - Bare Bones Fish n Chips - 2018 Winner - Ms. Shauna Jasken - Gone Fishin' - 2017 Winner - Ms. Terri Buse - Little Bavaria

Business Investment Award:

Nominees are businesses that have made a marked commitment to improving the look and feel of their business with a substantial or complete renovation. Businesses that have made façade improvements without funding from the Façade Improvement Program are also eligible. We thank Mosaic Forest Management for supporting this award for many years. Recent winners include: 2019 Winner - The Flooring Depot - 2018 Winner - EM Salon and Spa - 2017 Winner - The Blue Marlin Inn - 2016 Winner - Mahoe Properties,

Chamber Award:

A unique award that does not receive nominations from the wider public. Instead, the Chamber of Commerce staff/directors nominate people who are known to support the Chamber through the year. These could be people who participate in our Networking Events, Sponsor our Awards and other programs, Assist us with the Ambassadors or whatever else helps to keep the Chamber functioning at a high level. The Award is sponsored by Community Futures Alberni-Clayoquot who themselves are very supportive of the Chamber of Commerce. Recent winners include: -  2019 Winner - Debbie Haggard - 2018 Winner - Sonja Drinkwater - 2017 Winner - Houle Printing - 2016 Winner - Boomerangs,

Community Events Award:

This Award was initially set up to acknowledge those that contribute to the local music scene in Port Alberni. It has evolved into a wider scope so that we can include those who contribute to the many Events and Programs that occur throughout the year. Nominees can cover a wide range of the entertainment world in Port Alberni. See past winners for a range of potential examples. Recent winners include: 2019 Winner - Five Acre Shaker - 2018 Winner - Char's Landing - 2017 Winner - Portal Players - 2016 Winner - Ms. Pat Miller - Timbre! Choir,

This award is now sponsored by: Steampunk Cafe

COVID Resiliency Award:

This award formerly called the Special Recognition Award is picked annually by the Chamber of Commerce recognizing an individual or business that goes beyond the expected in their everyday business. This award is sponsored by INEO Employment Recent winners include: 2019 Winner - Kevin Wright - Steampunk Cafe - 2018 Winner - Rick Geddes - 2017 Winner - Westcoast Home Hardware - 2016 Winner - Pot Luck Ceramics,

Customer Service Award:

The entire scope of any business is its ability to excel in Customer Service either through its business personality or through a combination of wonderful people at the front end. Best yet are businesses that showcase both. Our nominees should be the 'business' itself vs. an individual within the business. For the latter please consider nomination someone for the Ambassador of Service Award. The award has been sponsored by The Graphics Factory for many years. Recent winners include: 2019 Winner - Double R Meats - 2018 - Pacific Rim Veterinary Hospital - 2017 Winner - KAL Tire - 2016 Winner - Alberni District Co-op

Facade Improvement Award

Nominees are businesses or building owners who have participated in the Façade Improvement Program initiated by the City of Port Alberni and administered by Community Futures Alberni-Clayoquot. Please choose from any one of these businesses/buildings: Some of the Businesses who've participated in the Facade Improvement program include: A1 Alberni Inn A1 Convenience Store and Laundry Bute Street Veterinary Clinic Bluebird Motel Comfort Zone Valley Vision Optometry Victoria Quay (along the waterfront) Alberni Glass and Mirror (now Speedy Glass) ACAWS Port Alberni Online - 4961 Argyle Street Kiwanis Children's Centre - 4325f Neill Street Archie's Hair Styling Manzini Animal Hospital Riverside Motel PA Squash and Fitness See Bros Holdings - 4641 - 4653 Margaret Street Exhaust Masters LA Marine Tilley Building - 3575 - 3rd Avenue Port Alberni Shelter Society - 3699 - 3rd Avenue The Blue Marlin Inn Hansen Hall Pro-active Industrial - 4866 Bute Street West Coast Hemp PA Flooring Depot Parmtronics Marine Ltd. - 5405 Argyle Street Kingsway Hotel Dog Mountain Brewery Mini Price AV Hospice Society - 2579 - 10th Avenue Karben Investments - 3092 - 3rd Avenue Live, Work Green - 5047 Argyle Street Maximum Hydroplane Manufacturing Co. Ltd. - 4637 Victoria Quay CBI Health Centre - 2296 - 2nd Avenue. Anyone of these businesses can be selected along with any other that has obviously made improvements to their physical presence in the community.

This award is sponsored by The City of Port Alberni

Gillian Trumper Memorial Youth Award:

We are honoured to rebrand our Youth Award for 2020 and beyond to the GILLIAN TRUMPER YOUTH AWARD. We are also thrilled to welcome Ms. Pam Craig to our Sponsorship for this award. Pam joins former winner of the Youth Award - Mr. Samuel Tsai - owner of Passion Plumbing & Heating Ltd. as Co-Sponsor. This award continues to grow and for good reason. For 2022 we welcome Mr. Samuel Tsai, also a former winner to our Sponsor group. Our nominees are young people under the age of 19 who have already become widely known names either within their school, church, sporting association or neighbourhood through volunteering and general good deeds. Recent winners include: 2018 Winners - Malaika Stone, Aaron Badovinic, Laurel Davidson, Brandi Andreeff 2017 Winners - Ethan Jack, Jenna West, Samuel Tsai 2016 Winner(s) Mr. Oliver Witham, Ms. Kayla Caddy, Ms. Theresa Gingras,2019 Winner(s) Ms. Linh Tran, Ms. Sarah Higginson, Ms. Jayson Matthews, Ms. Emily West, Ms. Memphis Dick

Green Award:

In our times of environmental focus our nominees have already set a clear policy on green initiatives and habits within their business operations. Management and Staff are all fully committed to this important element in today's society. This award is sponsored annually by The Alberni Valley News

Recent winners include: 2019 Winner - Guy Langlois - PA Shelter Society - 2018 Winner - Alberni Aquarium - 2017 Winner - Port Posh Wash - 2016 Winner - Desja Walker - Haven Living,

Health and Wellness Award:

Here we salute the effort that our nominees have made in ensuring that the populace of the Alberni Valley is healthy and vibrant. We are looking for nominees who make it a habit to promote good health either via their work as a Health Practitioner, Dedicated Retailer or perhaps they're an individual who is committed to improving fitness and general well-being via an activity based commitment. The Sponsor of this award is Port Boat House. Recent winners include: 2019 Winner - Healthy Habits - 2018 Winner - Ahminsa Yoga - Jan Norman - 2017 Winner - Sarah Thomas - 2016 Winner - Alberni Valley Hospice Society,

Inclusive Employer Award:

This award is presented to an employer who recognizes & demonstrates the benefits of an inclusive workplace for employees, employers & patrons.

The award winner is determined by the Sponsor of this Award:

Port Alberni Association for Community Living – PAACL

Recent winners include: 2019 Winner - Handy Andy; 2018 Winner - Azalea Flowers and Gifts; 2017 Winner - Breakers Marine; 2016 Winner - The Starboard Grill

Rising Star Award:

Nominees for this Business Award are considered newcomers to the area with 1 - 5 years of operation. During their short stay they have become a well known local brand and ownership along with key management are widely known throughout the community through their external habits of serving the community. R. Anderson & Associates Sponsor this award annually for us. Recent winners include: 2019 Winner - The Power of Three - 2018 Winner - Twin City Brewery - 2017 Winner - Totem Tree Service - 2016 Winner - Vancouver Island Limousine,

Social Media Award:

Nominees for the Social Media Award have a commitment to online marketing through platforms such as Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and others. They post frequently and know how to leverage the power of the Social Media world. They'll use Hashtags to drive traffic where they want to see it go and they know how and when to 'tag' others for best results. Simply put; They get it. The award has been graciously sponsored by Jack Tsai of Port Alberni Online. Recent winners include: 2019 Winner - Cloud City - 2018 Winner - Electron Metalworks - 2017 Winner - Trends Hair Design - 2016 Winner - Tasha Potter - Great Central Social Co.,

Tourism and Hospitality Award:

As tourism continues to become a local focus in our area we are pleased to dedicate an annual award to a worthy recipient. Our nominees can come from a wide range of organizations including B&B's, Motel's, Fishing Charters, Restaurants, Lodges etc. In determining the eventual winner for this category we will review on-line reports and reviews to discover what others are saying about the business or organization. Recent winners include: 2019 Winner - Arrowvale Campground - 2018 Winner - China Creek Campground -  2017 Winner - Alberni Valley Drag Racing Assn  - 2016 Winner - Blain & Patricia Pouliott - West Coast Edge ATV,

We welcome Yates Memorial Services as our new Sponsor for this award

Visionary Award:

An award that acknowledges the efforts of an individual or organization that has made a significant contribution to the city through their own Visionary Scope. This award is sponsored by: Sharie Minions Mortgage Brokers. Recent winners include: 2019 Winner - Foster Coulson - The Coulson Group - 2018 - 100 Women who Care - 2017 Winner - Don Ferster - 2016 Winner - Stacey Gaiga,

Volunteer of the Year Award:

Port Alberni is blessed with an abundance of nominees for this award. Every day these hidden heroes are volunteering, working joyfully while enriching our community in countless ways. Each year some stand out for their exceptional commitment and for the difference they make in their field of hobby. This award is now sponsored by Scotiabank. Recent winners include: 2019 - Winner - Marilyn Gibson - 2018 Winner - David Wiwchar -  2017 Winner - Meals on Wheels - 2016 - Winner - The ATTIC,

Women of Influence Award:

This award recognizes the strength and commitment of local women in Port Alberni. We are thrilled to have Rabinder Dhillon Mortgage Broker Sponsor this award that was first acknowledged in 2018.Recent winners include:  2019 Winner - Terry Deakin - INEO Employment - 2018 Winner - Naomi Nicholson - Secluded Wellness