Bad Tattoo’s Lee Agur won Penticton Chamber’s Business Leader of the Year award at Friday night’s gala but was not at the event to accept his award. Instead, staff at the Penticton brewery accepted it on his behalf. (Monique Tamminga Western News)

Bad Tattoo’s Lee Agur won Penticton Chamber’s Business Leader of the Year award at Friday night’s gala but was not at the event to accept his award. Instead, staff at the Penticton brewery accepted it on his behalf. (Monique Tamminga Western News)

Letter: Penticton Chamber faces criticism for choice in Business Leader of the Year Award

Bad Tattoo owner Lee Agur won the prestigious award after thumbing nose at vaccine mandates

Business leader of the year?! They must be joking.

Penticton’s business leaders need to be tenacious to be able to balance the needs of our community members and make a living. Many have successfully done this while remaining vibrant, forward-thinking and relevant to the rest of the world. Despite Penticton’s difficulty with change, it’s comforting to know that these people are still here, continuously creating, innovating, encouraging, networking and doing right by the community. They inspired me, keeping me feeling hopeful for Penticton in times where I may otherwise have felt discouraged.

Presently, we find ourselves two years into a pandemic. Despite not much in the way of guidance, the majority of Penticton’s business leaders have stepped up, kept up, kept going and kept everyone safe, all while still continuing to provide excellent services to this community. When I envision what Penticton’s “Business Leader Of The Year” might look like, these are the people I think of. They’re progressive, level-headed, informed, compassionate… they’re the ones quietly scrambling to do everything right while keeping everybody smiling. They are the true leaders of this community.

A person who doesn’t follow directions for the safety of their community, and who publicly thumbs their nose at health authorities is not a leader. A person who does this and then takes it all back and slinks away when it comes time to pay the piper for the choices they made is NOT a leader!

READ MORE: Bad Tattoo co-owner Lee Agur steps down after backpedal on vax passport

So to name that person “Business Leader of the Year” is outrageous. What a slap in the face to the other candidates – and to every other business leader in this community who is in any way deserving of such an award, nomination or not.

What kind of message does the Chamber send when they allow a business owner who publicly disobeyed health restrictions during a pandemic to be awarded Business Leader of the Year?

My partner and I are so disgusted, we would cancel our Chamber membership immediately if it wouldn’t nullify our employees’ healthcare plan. This is not the type of organization we wish to be part of if this is what they really think, and this is most certainly not representative of our city, its businesses, or the many people that we know here.

So then, at what point did the panel bending to appease Penticton’s social hierarchy become more important than recognizing actual deserving individuals? Isn’t actually being worthy of recognition the whole point of an award ceremony in the first place?

Perhaps the Chamber Awards have lost their meaning in Penticton. I know after this, they certainly have to us.

I hope the Chamber will re-evaluate both their panel members, and their nomination and awarding processes after this. Clearly some pretty substantial changes are needed. What an embarrassment!

Robyn Smuin

Penticton