June 05, 2016 - 11:30 AM
KELOWNA - When the pros tee off at Gallagher’s Canyon for the inaugural GolfBC championship this week, the City of Kelowna logo will be prominently displayed as one of the event sponsors.
The city and Kelowna International Airport (which is owned by the city) will be giving over cash grants totalling $17,500 to the professional golf event.
It wasn’t always this way, local event directors will tell you, as the city once expressly refused to provide anything beyond small in-kind donations, usually in the form of borrowed equipment or waived fees.
But the view of the city toward events such as the Okanagan International Marathon or the Skate Canada International figure skating championships has evolved over the last ten years, explains Jim Gabriel, the city’s director of active living and culture.
“Back in the day, most of the costs for these events would have been passed back to the organizers. We have began realizing the importance of these events and now recognize we have a role to play in encouraging these events in the community,” Gabriel says.
Depending on what kind of event, organizers can now apply to one of four strategic funds for grants from $200 to $10,000. More than that would require the consent of Kelowna council.
The city’s total budget for event sponsorship is still a relatively modest $55,000 but for individual events, can mean the difference between it happening or not.
“We recogize now that some of these events require our support if we want them to to happen,” Gabriel says.
As well, the extra cash often helps events raise their standards and provide a better experience for local residents, participants and spectators, many of which come from out of town, he adds.
The Mackenzie Tour touches down at Gallagher’s Canyon Golf and Country Club from June 6 to June 12.
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