Penticton events centre looks to kick start a post-pandemic economy | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Penticton events centre looks to kick start a post-pandemic economy

Image Credit: PEXELS
March 16, 2021 - 7:00 AM

With vaccines on the way and a post-pandemic future on the horizon, Penticton is hoping to kickstart its own recovery with a ‘big show attraction.’

Councillors are mulling over a $250,000 boost for the South Okanagan Events Centre to bring in a headliner to kick off the new normal.

The City of Penticton created a ‘restart’ task force to help oversee the recovery and it’s recommending the city go big.

“The goal is to make a profit, but also to attract a larger or longer event. That’s going to cost more money, but should also have a significantly larger impact on the community,” Anthony Haddad from the City of Penticton said.

He said he hopes COVID-19 restrictions will ease in time for an event to happen this year, but timing is totally dependent on an end to the pandemic restrictions around large gatherings.

“There has been lots of interest. We’re looking at getting everyone back to the events centre in safety once restrictions are relaxed,” Haddad said.

Economic Development Manager Carly Lewis says the idea is to provide funds for SOEC managers Spectra Event Management to attract a big name event that would help local business by stimulating local tourism, hotel, retail and restaurant activity through an initial blockbuster event that would kick-off the restart of a post-pandemic city economy.

Lewis says Spectra is working on some ideas for a major entertainment event, but couldn’t speak to what or who those acts might be.

Lewis says competition will likely be high as other communities try to attract major events to their cities as soon as the pandemic ends.

Penticton City Council will look at a recommendation to allocate $250,000 towards a major entertainment event to revive the city and the South Okanagan Events Centre once COVID-19 restrictions end.
Penticton City Council will look at a recommendation to allocate $250,000 towards a major entertainment event to revive the city and the South Okanagan Events Centre once COVID-19 restrictions end.

In a report to council, it was noted a successful event at the SOEC would have considerable impact on many industries, in particular hospitality and accommodation, which would benefit from visitors coming in from across the province, country and border, once restrictions allow.

“Much work behind the scenes by Spectra Management will need to occur,” the report said, making it necessary for council's immediate consideration of the recommendation.

Council will have to decide at its meeting later today, March 16.

The task force looked at four categories for possible funding recommendations, including:

  • immediate actions
  • events/outdoor use
  • future planning
  • housing/crime/ social

The city’s image and a shop local-spend local campaign were the two highest rated priorities listed by the task force for getting the city back on its feet economically, post-pandemic.

The total cost of all the recommendations coming forward is $482,500. The funds could come from the city’s COVID-19 restart reserve, or from general accumulated surplus.


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