Thursday September 23, 2010

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Heartbeat Hotel

Coast Hotel committed to community through caring

Craig Hill/Voice photos


Coast Hotel Chilliwack staff offer sample beverages at the anniversary party September 15.


he Coast Hotel & Resorts in Chilliwack celebrated their first year in business with an anniversary bash September 15 and the Japanese co-owners of the chain showed how the big corporate biz can be downright small-town-friendly.

The hotel welcomed a cross-section of people from the community, local dignitaries and guest speakers and the event also had a global flavour with some high-flyers jetting in especially for the upscale occasion.

The celebration itself proved to be a very ritzy affair rarely seen in Chilliwack bringing five star hospitality with an exquisite selection of hors d'oeuvres and Andres wines, martini's and imported beer and just a sense of welcome.

When guests arrived they greeted by warm solos from accomplished local pianist Graham Yates who tinkled the ivories while they moved between the main ballroom and Preston's Restaurant and the patio overlooking Salish Pond.

Kevin Gemmel, General Manager for 89.5 Hawk Radio, emceed the event saying the Coast Hotel wanted people to know what the Coast's accomplishments have been in the city.


"The theme of the evening is really enjoy what they've built here and what they've brought to downtown Chilliwack," said Gemmel.

Coast Hotels & Resorts originally bought the Rhombus Hotel and spared no expense refitting and refurbishing the building and bringing it up to the famous Coast Hotel chain standards.

Skwah band member and Native drummer, Justin Williams and Shannon Campbell and another singer, performed a traditional prayer song.


"We are very pleased to be here," said Williams. "For the ones that travelled here from our communities over on Skwah First Nations, we welcome you here and we share a prayer song that will help you in any, way, shape or form on behalf of our ancestors including how we were brought up."



Justin Williams, and Native singers at the Coast.

"We go around from to help other communities of our people but we're very pleased to be here and it's a pleasure," he added.

Beautiful ice carvings sat swaddled on tables stuffed with many types of savoury sushi while guests mingled and schmoozed in the azure glow of the satin-walled ballroom.

Mayor Sharon Gaetz expressed city hall's gratitude to the hotel management.

"It's really my pleasure on behalf of city council to come here to extend congratulations to Joey Beltrano and his magnificent staff on their first anniversary," said Gaetz. "This hotel announced that they wanted to be leaders in efficiency and sustainability in hotel management and they certainly setting the bar very high."

Gaetz extolled the Coast's management for their virtuous action in the face of last year's flooding when the hotel housed many of the relief teams coming in.

"As soon as our flood started in January 2009, this hotel sent news that they were throwing open the doors to all of those relief teams that were coming from right across the country, and they extended fine hospitality, they even did this to their own detriment because they weren't able to start their planning, their building process right away, so thank you to you, there's a plaque in the hallway indicating what a good neighbour you are to the city of Chilliwack and in the city of Chilliwack,"

Gaetz also stated that "This hotel was worked so hard to make us all feel at home, you have set great standards in business excellence and from the bottom of my heart and from our community, we can hardly wait to see what you do next, thank you so much for your contribution to our community."

Gemmel told the audience that Chilliwack Economic Partners Corporation is a familiar name around Chilliwack do "a lot revitalize the city" while introducing CEPCO's President John Jansen.

"I remember, and Sharon (Gaetz), you may not recall this," said Jansen. "When they first talked about putting this hotel here, I was on city council and we talked about how we'd like to see a hotel in downtown looking over the wonderful pond, you can actually walk on water right now on the pond, but anyway, they built it and what has gone through and what we see here today ladies and gentlemen, is by far the best product we could envision."

Mayor Sharon Gaetz talks with Eagle Landing Cineplex Oden official.


Jansen also added that he's done walk-thrus of the building on several occasions and has seen first-hand the upgrades and challenges that Beltrano and his staff have faced throughout their first year in the city.

"It was phenomenal what they've come up with its just fantastic and we worked together very closely as partners," he said.

Grand Chief Clarence Pennier, President of the Sto:lo Tribal Council expressed the Sto:lo's appreciation to the Coast Hotel for the help they've given to the Native band in the past.

"I want to thank the Coast Hotel family for inviting me here this evening and it's a good thing that you're reaching out to the communities, especially reaching out to our communities," said Pennier.

Referring to the new Coast Hotel, Pennier added that "It's a lot different from the last time we were here, we used to have our meetings here."

Chilliwack Chamber of Commerce president, Jason Lum, told the audience that he presented the Coast Hotel with the Corporate Sustainability Award at the Business Excellence Awards last January.

"What you might not know, is that the newly renovated hotel actually incorporates many, many, environmentally sustainable things which include composting, energy efficient lighting, water conservation measures, numerous product recycling opportunities, right down to the staff uniform which is actually made out of 70-per-cent recycled plastic," explained Lum. "Staff audit their waste to maximize the amount of materials recycled, their eco-committee is committed to find new green measures to add to either current environmental practices," added Lum.

Also speaking that evening was Mike Watson who is the general manager for Sto:lo Community Futures.

"This is a great day," said Watson. "It's a great day from the point-of-view that it's an incredible facility in our community to share and the opportunity for employment, the opportunity to work together and the opportunity to bring advancement to everyone who lives n this incredible territory."

"I promised Joey (Beltrano) I wouldn't say anything about his golf," quipped Watson. "But to Joey and his team, thank you very much, it's a great facility."

The company brass were also taking part in the celebrations and Graeme Barrit, President of Coast Hotels & Resorts, passed on his thanks to the First Nations and to Shui Naito from the Okabe Corporation who co-owns the hotel chain.

Barrit joked about the opening a year ago. "We bought this hotel at the peak of the economic cycle and we opened it damn neat at the bottom of the economic cycle, but one of the things about being involved in a Japanese firm is that they have a really remarkable long time line that they look at," he said. "So we'll be here in the community for a very long time and this hotel will become a very profitable part of the Coast Hotel's North American empire and it will be through the support of all of you in this room"

"I hope you remember this evening for a long time and keep coming back to this hotel," he added.

See the photo gallery below.

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