Editors Intro:

The aim of the Meet the COEDC campaign is to share with our community who the Economic Development Commission is and showcase the COEDC Advisory Council members who play critical role guiding the regional economic development service.

Along with being a valuable member of the Advisory Council, Jill is president of the MAKR Play Group of Companies; made up of Waterplay, as well as Parkworks, Western Canada’s leading park supplier, and WeKid Manufacturing, a smart factory specializing in stainless steel. She is passionate about uniting people through play and social experiences and feels that play is a right for children throughout the world, in every culture, regardless of background or preconceived notions of ability.

Waterplay Solutions started in Penticton with the founder and nine employees. Since purchasing Waterplay Solutions in 2004, Jill has built the company into a global leader in the aquatic play industry. Under Jill's leadership the organization was moved to Kelowna and has since expanded across North America, Australia, Asia and Europe. Waterplay Solutions is passionate about bringing play to communities to make the planet more livable and socially just. They have thousands of installations across the world and are part of the movement toward a healthier, happier, global community by offering innovative aquatic play solutions designed for developing minds, thrill seekers, budding explorers and the young at heart.

Now, with over 100 skilled professionals in recreation space consultancy, design, product development, steel manufacturing, logistics, engineering, corporate services, the group of companies draws on its expertise across industry segments to bring an exceptional level of skilled service and experience to the aquatic play market.

Continue reading to learn more about Jill’s outlook on industry specific trends and forecasts for the Central Okanagan! And check in each Monday to meet a new member of the Advisory Council, and to learn why they love to live and work in the Central Okanagan!

What organization are you from and what is your role?

I am the President of the MAKR Play Group of Companies; made up of Waterplay Solutions Corp. Parkworks Solutions Corp. and WeKid Manufacturing.

What excites you about the future of your respective sector?

Public and open space, for many people, has been the only place in the past 2 years where they have been able to gather safely with friends and family. During the pandemic, these community spaces were once again the focal point in many cities around the world. People flocked to parks and recreational places like they have not done before. These safe, community spaces are where we all belong, where we all can stay active and fit, and engaged with our friends, families and neighbours. The placemaking movement that recognizes different needs in terms of accessibility, culture, sustainability, health and wellbeing is so exciting to be part of. From street furniture to playgrounds to a park bench on a trail, the outdoors have never been so valued and the products being made to complement the outstanding landscape design work that landscape architects and planners are doing is really exciting.

Why is participating in the Advisory Council important to you?

Awareness is key to maintaining a thriving business. There are so many issues that all of us face each day in our communities, and if local governments are not aware of these issues, then how can they be fixed? Transportation, housing accessibility, education, and healthcare are all macro issues being dealt with daily, but there are many smaller issues affecting our small community that need to be dealt with as well and our regional governments need to be connected in order to facilitate meaningful and positive change.

Why do love living and working in the Okanagan?

Home is always home, no matter where you are from. I’m from a long standing Okanagan family and this is where my roots are so it will always be home. I do love the surrounding nature that we are so fortunate to have as our backyard. The trees, the mountains and the lakes are extraordinary. There is nothing like a warm, long Canadian summer day; it is my favorite part of where we live; especially when complimented with the amazing friends and people I get to share it with.

Learn more about MAKR Play Group here!