December 26, 2015 - 10:35 AM
PENTICTON - The city is looking everywhere it can to find ways to cut costs and operate city interests more efficiently and that includes both city entities entrusted with promoting the region's tourism industry.
Penticton Mayor Andrew Jakubeit says the overlap in function between the Penticton Hospitality Association and Tourism Penticton could be leveraged to the advantage of everyone involved.
"Generally speaking, our community has always had a lot of silos - this group moving in this direction, this group moving there," he said. "They are still trying to move forward but the left hand doesn’t tell the right hand, and if they worked together they could go forward at a faster pace, or at least, get a little more bang for their buck.”
“It seems to me the (hospitality association) chair and the tourism chair have had conversations about working together and that’s certainly our hope and desire the two combined efforts," he said. "However that shapes up, I think everyone wins that way.... We're optimistic for that to happen."
When asked whether Tourism Penticton has discussed the possibility of uniting forces with the Penticton Hospitality Association, Tourism Penticton Vice-Chair Jessica Agur Dolan says her organization doesn’t have a lot of answers and “would hate to speak out of turn.”
She says the city is working through their budget process, and once that is complete Tourism Penticton would be able to share more of the plan for 2016 with everyone.
Tourism Penticton’s budget for 2016 is currently unchanged from 2015 levels, at $354,000.
Phone calls and emails by Infonews to the Penticton Hospitality Association were not returned.
The two organizations aren't generally known for working well together and the hospitality association has had a rocky, litigious relationship with the city as well.
A merger or closer working relationship seems like a long shot but would certainly suit the city's needs. As it faces hefty property tax increases to residents this year, Jakubeit says city council is looking to save money wherever it can be found.
"We’re looking at every penny to see where we can find some efficiencies and partnerships and leverage, we don’t want to dip into reserves because that’s not sustainable,” Jakubeit said.
To contact the reporter for this story, email Steve Arstad at email@example.com or call 250-488-3065. To contact the editor, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 250-718-2724.
News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015