Hockey school lobbies Penticton council to spend more on aging facilities - InfoNews

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Hockey school lobbies Penticton council to spend more on aging facilities

Pictured in the this image from Google Street View is the Okanagan Hockey Group's training facility at the South Okanagan Events Centre. President Andy Oakes told Penticton city council this week the school's activities have brought almost $20 million in economic activity to Penticton so far this year.
Image Credit: Google Street View
November 16, 2016 - 5:00 PM

PENTICTON - The local hockey school has delivered a mixed message to Penticton city council.

Okanagan Hockey Group president Andy Oakes presented the findings of an independent study conducted regarding the hocky school's economic impact in Penticton to council yesterday, Nov. 15.

The presentation offered some insight into the economic benefits the hockey organization provides to the city, but also expressed concerns regarding city policies around recreational facility usage along with the present and future state of the Memorial and McLaren Arenas. The study was conducted by Lochaven Management Consultants Ltd.

Oakes said the assessment revealed the hockey school has had a total economic impact of $19.91 million in 2016, contributing $3.95 million through the hockey group’s payroll and local spending, $7.7 million through direct spending by way of visiting families’ relocation and accommodation expenses and other related spending, and $4.8 million in direct spending by the group’s eight weeks of hockey camps.

The figures were compared to the group’s previous study in 2010, which indicated a total economic impact then of $13.5 million.

Oakes also expressed some concern over the present state of the city’s hockey and recreation facilities.

“You can’t reduce facilities,” he warned, noting he has conerns about the long term sustainability of both the Memorial and McLaren arenas.

“Existing user groups need all the facilities to be better. The status quo for Memorial and McLaren are not going to work,” he said, adding senior lacrosse wasn’t viable in McLaren Arena and senior hockey wasn’t workable in Memorial Arena.

Oakes also talked about the city’s operations policy.

“We can’t have last minute decisions impact our operations,” he said, citing the need for a proper booking system when dealing with Spectra and other city operated venues.

As an example, Oakes noted the change in scheduling of the Challenge Penticton race, made without consultation, left the hockey group with a depleted sign up list in 2017 because their clients have no place to stay.

He urged council to develop a long term strategy for all user groups.

“We have to get facilities figured out,” he said.

When asked where the hockey group’s growth is expected to come from in the future, Oakes noted 80 per cent of their clientele currently come from B.C. with a number of students also coming from Alberta, a trend he expected to continue due to the cost of transferring a student from another jurisdiction.


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