Kamloops & District Chamber of Commerce News

5 Questions with Jason Fawcett, President of the Kelson Group

The way we work, play and live transforms with each generation. The 1950’s introduced us to the suburbs with a robust middle-class. However, as time went on the focus has shifted back to revitalizing our urban centres. Densification, green space, building amenities and alternative transportation methods are all craved as consumers look for modern homes to suit their moden lifestyles.

For over forty years, the Kelson Group was led by Ron Fawcett, who helped the company grow to serve 10 cities with over 4,000 homes, even winning Business of the Year at the 2016 Business Excellence Awards presented by TD.

Photo Credit: Kent Wong Photography

Recently, Ron stepped aside for Jason Fawcett to take the reins of the company as they tackle their biggest project to date – City Gardens. The Chamber team recently caught up with Jason to learn more about his new role and vision for Kamloops and beyond.

Kamloops is growing, the Kelson Group has continued to shape, reshape and transform the Kamloops skyline – what project are you most enthusiastic about right now? Tell us a bit about it.

Our City Gardens project on Nicola and Battle Streets that we announced in September is obviously the biggest project we have ever considered.  We have received a lot of feedback from the public and plan to do more consulting in the next few months with a goal of officially applying for our development permit to the City in the spring.  The development will have 2 highrise towers, 3 rental buildings and some townhomes to provide over 400 homes for sale or rent in downtown Kamloops.  We can’t wait to get started.

Photo Credit: The Kelson Group

You have recently stepped into the role of President from Vice-president of operations. What are you most looking forward to in this new role?  

My new role as President assures our employees, residents and the communities we serve that we have a leadership plan into the future.  My father, Ron, at 81 years young is still very involved leading our new developments and we work very closely together along with my brother, Kelly, who serves as Vice President.  Kelly and I lead the day-to-day operations of our rental properties that include 10 cities in BC and Alberta and it keeps us busy while Ron looks for new opportunities to serve more people. 

The Kelson Group has been building places people call home since 1974, when creating a space today that will eventually be someone’s home – what is the approach your team takes? How has it changed? 

Our biggest change since 1974 is that we are now focused on building great properties instead of acquiring existing built ones.  For over 35 years we purchased buildings and operated, maintained and renovated them to a high standard.  But with our new building program started in 2012, we are involved with every part of the construction and development now and that is extremely rewarding as we have our knowledge of what works best for our residents to build the best apartment homes.

With COVID-19 putting a damper on the referendum for the Centre for the Performing Arts in April 2020, when do you think conversations around the project will be revived? If so, is the time now to continue to explore it? 

There are a lot of unfortunate events that have occurred as a result of COVID-19 over the last number of months and the delay of the referendum of the Centre for the Performing Arts is just one of many.  We obviously wanted to see it proceed and now we just want to keep the dream alive when the time is right.  There are still lots of people talking about it and it is up to the City of Kamloops to decide the next steps.  My father, our company and myself are ready to support it when everyone else is.
 
What is your favorite thing that you tell out-of-town guests to discover when visiting the River City 

My favourite thing to tell people that are visiting Kamloops is the abundance of great trails we have to explore on.  Whether on a mountain bike or foot I try to find new opportunities year-round and there is always a new trail out there somewhere that you will stumble on.  We are really lucky to have so much terrain within a short distance of where we live.
 
The Kelson Group is looking for input to decide on the best type of suites, amenities and pricing for the new development project that is expected to open the summer of 2025 in downtown Kamloops. Learn more about City Gardens and participate in a short survey here.
 

Contributing Author:

Nic Zdunich,
Community Builder, 
Kamloops Chamber of Commerce

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The Kamloops Chamber of Commerce is situated on the traditional and unceded lands of the Tk'emlups Te Secwepemc within Secwepemc'ulucw, the traditional territory of the Secwepemc people. We are honored to live and work and play on this land and acknowledge the complicated history and humbly move forward in a spirit of collaboration and gratitude.