Kelowna is identified as the star of the Thompson Okanagan in the B.C. Regional Economic Outlook by Central 1 Credit Union.

The credit union’s deputy chief economist Bryan Yu describes Kelowna as the “favoured destination.”

That means not just for tourists, but entrepreneurs, skilled workers, immigrants and business investment.

As the largest city in the region, Kelowna has a booming technology sector, international airport, strong employment and healthy economy.

The outlook cited $70 million worth of renovations and expansion at Kelowna airport and growing wine and tourism sectors as prime economic drivers.

In fact, that vibrant local economy is expected to keep up or surpass Central 1’s forecast of 2.8% growth this year and 2% growth next year for the province as a whole.

The only dark cloud on the horizon is forestry.

The sector is having a tough time with mill closures and curtailments because of poor market conditions and lack of timber supply after the pine beetle epidemic.

Tolko Industries closed its lumber mill in Kelowna late last year, putting 230 out of work.

The outlook also mentioned the $312-million redevelopment of Penticton Hospital and renovations at B.C. Lottery Corporation head office in Kamloops as two of the region’s biggest infrastructure projects.

Restaurant coworking

Here’s an innovative double-use of space.

Basil & Mint restaurant at the corner of Lakeshore and Cook roads serves meals and drinks by night to diners and is now open during the day as a coworking space called CoWorkanagan.

What that means is workers and entrepreneurs who need office and meeting space can use the restaurant as such during the day, Monday through Saturday.

Memberships range from $10 for a single-day drop in and $85 for a

10-day pass to two-days-a-week access starting from $120 and unlimited full-time access starting from $140 a month.

CoWorkanagan has high-speed wifi, separate meeting rooms, printing services and complimentary coffee, tea and snacks.

Check out CoWorkanagan.com.

Utilizing restaurants outside of their hours of operation as cowork space is a movement that first appeared in Paris, Los Angeles and Vancouver.

$100 bubbles

Is your Valentine worth a $100 bottle of sparkling wine?

Kelowna’s Summerhill Pyramid Winery certainly hopes so.

This year the winery, located at 4870 Chute Lake Rd., is selling limited-edition bottles of its Cipes Ariel 2000 sparkling wine for $100.

That’s right, Ariel has been aging for almost 20 years in the bottle giving its fruit-forward apple-and-pear profile a complex and creamy hit of honey, buttered brioche and ginger.

Besides the special blend of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Muenier, Ariel is distinctive in a tall, elongated bottle.

You can purchase these exceptional bubbles online at Summerhill.bc.ca or at the on-site wine shop.

Summerhill also has Sunset Bistro, a lake view, organic restaurant, perfect for a romantic Valentine’s dinner.

If you don’t splash out on $100-a-bottle bubbly, Summerhill Pyramid has a range of other sparkling wines ideal for celebrations and everyday drinking from its flagship Cipes Brut and Brut Rose for $26.50 to Cipes Blanc de Blanc for $40 and Cipes Ice for $45.

New hotel boss

Kelowna-based Ingrid Jarrett, former manager of The Royal timeshare hotel in Kelowna and Watermark Beach Resort in Osoyoos, is the new CEO of the B.C. Hotel Association.

Jarrett has been involved as a volunteer with the association for years, including board chair in 2013-14.

However, the CEO job is a full-time staff position that will see her split her time between Kelowna and the association’s headquarters in Vancouver.

Jarrett takes over from James Chase, who retired in December after 28 years with the association.

“She is truly the best person for the job,” said association board chair Bryan Pilbeam of Jarrett.

“Ingrid’s long-standing reputation as a champion and leader in the hospitality industry is complemented by her many accomplishments as a member of our board.”

The 103-year-old B.C. Hotel Association represents 600 hotels in the province with 80,000 rooms and 60,000 employees.

Provincial budget

How will Feb. 18’s provincial budget impact local business?

Find out Feb. 19 at the Kelowna Chamber of Commerce’s post-budget breakfast, 7:30-9:15 a.m., at the Prestige Hotel.

Quinton Pullen, a tax partner at BDO accountants, will be on hand to analyze the budget and its affects on a wide range of Kelowna industries from high-tech, agriculture and retail to construction, tourism and forestry.

Tickets are $25 for chamber members, $30 for non-members, at KelownaChamber.org.

Cora food drive

Cora Breakfast & Lunch restaurant is having a food drive until the end of the month.

Cora, which is located in Orchard Park mall, is collecting non-perishable food items from customers.

For every item donated by a customer, Cora will contribute another item worth $2, up to a maximum of $1,000.

All food collected will go to the Central Okanagan Food Bank for distribution to those in need.

Steve MacNaull is a reporter at The Daily Courier. Reach him at steve.macnaull@ok.bc.ca.