Conversation plays a vital role in the development of communities, and Penticton took at page from the PechaKucha movement to bring people together to share ideas…and simply, to chat. As the city embarks on renewing its Official Community Plan (OCP), the first “Pen-TALK-ton” event filled an entire ballroom at the Penticton Trade and Convention Centre.

A definition, to start: what is PechaKucha? It is the art of concise presentations. How concise? Just twenty slides, each shown on a screen for twenty seconds, as the presenter speaks along with the slides. They advance automatically, so the speaker must keep up. PechaKucha began in Tokyo and has now expanded to 1000 cities worldwide, including Penticton. PechaKucha Nights are informal and fun gatherings where creative people get together and share their ideas, works, thoughts, just about anything. Every PechaKucha Night city is hosted by a local organiser, and when it came time to bring Pentictonites together to talk about ideas and priorities for the OCP, PenTalkton was born.

Eleven speakers (one more than the usual ten at these types of events), each took the stage in turn in front of more than 200 people to share their ideas and spur discussion. Not just chatter about the city itself, but meant to inspire the audience to think about their own ideas for the future of Penticton, speakers covered many things: arts and culture, the environment, transportation, sustainability, food safety, healthcare and more. Lively chatter took place before, during a break, and after, as the sparks of conversation and collaboration came together.

Another definition: what is an OCP? From Shape Your City Penticton: “an Official Community Plan (OCP) guides positive change, growth and development, and is created through extensive public consultation. It describes a vision for the future of a community, lays out a future land use plan and contains guiding policies in key areas such as affordable housing, transportation, economic development and environmental protection.”

Rather than a typical PowerPoint, PenTalkton was a vibrant step in the process to examine ideas about the future of Penticton. As one attendee remarked, “it’s good to talk among ourselves, and keep talking.”

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