Local individuals and organizations that make New Westminster a great place to live were celebrated at this year’s Platinum Awards.
The awards, hosted by the New Westminster Chamber of Commerce, recognize the efforts of those who are championing diversity and inclusion, environmental sustainability, community wellness, innovation and resilience.
“This year, we had 127 nominations, who were then offered the opportunity to submit a package for judging,” said Rnold Smith, executive director of the chamber of commerce. “Our judges, selected from local community leaders, then each provided an individual score for each nominee, which determined the Top 3 nominee finalists in each category.”
At that stage, he said a professional video was produced that highlighted the nominees’ accomplishments and encouraged the public to vote.
“Thousands of people voted for their favourites, and the combination of the public vote and the judges’ score determined the winner,” Smith said. “This ensured that both public support and independently reviewed merit determined who eventually won the award.”
This year’s Platinum Award winners are:
* Customer Service Excellence: Taverna Greka
* Business Adaptation Award: Mila + Paige
* Home Based Business of the Year: Stephanie Lam Piano Studio/Quayside Voices
* Wellness Champion Award: Hawkes Martial Arts
* Inclusion and Diversity Champion Award: Yorkville University (New West Campus)
* Bernie Legge Cultural Award: Stefanie Swinnard, The Stage Musical Theatre Academy
* Green Business of the Year: Cap’s Bicycle Shop
* Not for Profit of the Year: Downtown New West Business Improvement Association
* New Business of the Year: Craft Café
* Community Spirit Award: Piva Modern Italian Restaurant
Smith said the chamber of commerce’s focus for the past year has been on finding ways to support local businesses and organizations.
“We have done this by hosting community leaders to answer questions, creating virtual events that bring the community together, and communicating the needs of our community to all levels of government,” he said. “When we contemplated on how to adapt the awards to a virtual environment, supporting local enterprise was top of mind.”
Smith said that’s why this year’s awards had the highest promotional budget in the history of the awards.
“After leveraging our relationships with our media partners, the New West Record, Global TV and Canada Wide Media, there has been over $30,000 worth of promotion for our nominees and the community; locally, regionally and across the province,” he said in a press release. “We are proud that we have this opportunity to promote the great things that are happening in the business community of New Westminster.”
The virtual Platinum Awards gala, held April 29, featured speakers including Mayor Jonathan Cote, Qayqayt First Nation Chief Rhonda Larrabee and New Westminster MLA Jennifer Whiteside. It also featured “bad dad jokes” from each of the presenters and the event’s MCs.
“Despite some technical glitches, the combination of casual networking, entertaining presentations, and the inspiring videos of our nominee finalists made for an enjoyable night,” said the press release. “The entire gala can be viewed on our production partner’s website NewWest.TV.”