January 18, 2014 - 10:31 AM
PENTICTON - Former Tourism Penticton board chair Miranda Halladay said she's not the type to quit but she did because of disagreements with the Penticton Hospitality Association.
Halladay, who stepped down on Wednesday, has been on the Tourism Penticton board since 2012 and later became its inaugural chairperson in 2013. She said she wanted to use her skills and expertise to bolster Penticton's tourism sector. She admits she was aware of the friction between the City of Penticton and the association, but their disagreement was not as involved as it is now.
Both the hospitality association and the tourism board agreed there should be only one tourism marketing group.
"We (Tourism Penticton) were willing to adapt and make any amendments to make this happen," she said. Over the past summer the two groups worked together on several projects.
Tourism Penticton and the hospitality association started having problems over what the combination of forces would look like. They had difficulty coming to terms over strategy and other elements. While that was going on, the hospitality people were arguing with the city over marketing efforts and who should control the two per cent hotel tax fund used for promotions.
Eventually, Halladay had had enough.
"My goal in taking on the role of inaugural chair... was to see tourism marketing efforts in Penticton coalesce into a unified, effective organization," Halladay said.
"Unfortunately, for reasons confounding the majority of tourism stakeholders... the PHA has chosen a program of stall and delay, ultimately derailing this process."
Halladay said she devoted more time to Tourism Penticton than she ever expected and it was becoming too much. Her business was expanding and she needed to spend more time there.
She admitted it can look like she's ducking and running but she refutes that perception.
"I have no problem defending my decision in leaving," she said. "The work we accomplished, establishing our very strong foundation, it's top notch."
She was frustrated and drained due to the lack of progress between the two organizations. She wanted the fractured tourism community fixed admits there was no satisfaction from a productivity standpoint.
Her departure means only 8 of the 13 Tourism Penticton board positions are filled. Rob Appelman, who is now the Penticton Hospitality Association president, and Alex Long are both former directors. The seat left for the Penticton Indian Band remains vacant.
Calls made to the Penticton Hospitality Association were not returned by the time this story was published.
To contact a reporter for this story, email Shannon Quesnel at firstname.lastname@example.org, call 250-488-3065 or tweet @InfoNewsPentict.
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