Council upset by DPA's sudden decision to step away from civic events - InfoNews

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Council upset by DPA's sudden decision to step away from civic events

Penticton city councillors expressed some dissatisfaction at the Downtown Penticton Association's recent decision to step away from hosting several annual civic events, such as Canada Day festivities with little notice.
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March 20, 2019 - 5:30 PM

PENTICTON - Penticton city council isn’t pleased with the Downtown Penticton Association.

Several councillors expressed disappointment with the way the business association suddenly handed off responsibility for several civic events following the March 5 council meeting in which a delegation from the association asked for more city financial support to carry on the events this year, but since then have announced their intention to withdraw from the events entirely.

The city has since stepped in to take control of the events, which include Canada Day and B.C. Day celebrations, along with the annual Canada Day fireworks.

The Downtown Penticton Association was back before council yesterday March 19, with a request for a $1,190 grant to carry on its Live at Lunch series in 2019.

Chief financial officer Jim Bauer also recommended council approve the allocation of $32,800 to the city’s sport and event program, money that was originally to be granted to the association as the city’s contribution to the civic events prior to the association stepping away.

Coun. Watt questioned whether or not the association would now have the capacity to fund the event themselves, since they were no longer hosting the rest of the events, which had previous budget of $141,155.

He requested more financial details before providing the association with the $1,190 request.

“It’s extremely unfortunate this has been put before this council on such short notice,” Coun. Jake Kimberley said, adding the city couldn’t avoid not celebrating Canada Day by shutting the events down for a year.

Kimberley said he supported the association but didn’t want to see the civic events end up costing more taxpayer dollars, however, the timing of the association’s decision left the city scrambling to find not only money in the budget but also personnel to plan and run the events, some of which take up to a year to plan.

“We’re trying in every way, shape and form we can to assist the business community,” he said.

Coun. Julius Bloomfield said the city ’s relationship with the association had been good in the past and would be in the future, but said he was disappointed with the lack of notice given by the association in pulling out of the events.

“Since this council got elected there have been various concerns of the Downtown Penticton Association we’ve supported,” he said, most notably a request to police for extra patrols downtown, hiring of extra bylaw officers, support for the association’s position on cannabis retail sales downtown and support in easing the city’s business tax multiplier.

“We’ve done a lot for the Downtown Penticton Association,” he said.

Coun. Judy Sentes also voiced her disappointment with the association’s abbreviated timeline for relinquishing the events, further expressing fears the city now wasn’t budgeting enough for the events because the amounts requested were based on the previous partnership with the association and not the total cost of staging the events.

Bauer agreed funding could be an issue as the city was currently allocating those dollars towards the events through the recreation department.

Chief administrator Donny Van Dyk said staff plans were to return to council with an event-by-event breakdown of the scope and cost.

Council approved allocating of $33,990 to the sport and event program but declined the association’s request for $1,190.

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