Penticton to spend 250K for 'end of pandemic' big show at SOEC | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Penticton to spend 250K for 'end of pandemic' big show at SOEC

Penticton's South Okanagan Events Centre has been quietly awaiting the end of the pandemic, but could come to life with a bang once the pandemic ends, following a Penticton council decision earlier this week.
March 19, 2021 - 6:30 PM

Penticton city council wasn’t that interested in allocating additional funds to jump start the South Okanagan Event Centre post-pandemic but eventually voted in favour of the move earlier this week.

Council was faced with two options at its meeting, March 16, from the city’s COVID-19 safe restart task force, one that would see $347,500 spent on several initiatives designed to help kick start the local economy once the pandemic ends, the second option for $445,000 for a similar group of initiatives.

The lesser amount of option one ($347,500) included a separate allocation for $250,000 for a big event at the SOEC.

General manager of community services Anthony Haddad said option two – which included an allocation of $347,000 for implementation of medium priority task force recommendations – also included funding for the big event at the SOEC.

More information on these initiatives will be coming forward in the coming months, Haddad said.

Haddad described the options selected by the safe restart task force as focusing on four categories that included:

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

The task force also broke the categories down into high, medium and low priority for implementation, with specific focus on local industries most significantly impacted by COVID-19 restrictions.

Council discussion centred on the initiative to allocate $250,000 towards a high profile or multi-day event at the South Okanagan Events Centre.

Councillor Judy Sentes said she found that item “a challenge.”

Sentes said, based on the number of tail lights seen leaving the city after a typical concert at the events centre, she was uncertain a big event would entice people to remain in the city.

Councillor Julius Bloomfield noted there wasn’t much difference between the two options other than the extra funds being allocated in option two. He noted that both options would see funding allocated to an SOEC major event.

Councillor Katie Robinson expressed fears of “putting all our eggs in one basket” with option one, while option two would spread the money around more evenly to places the task force felt necessary.

“The big shows should be able to stand on their own without further help from the city,” Robinson said, adding the SOEC was already well subsidized.

Mayor John Vassilaki noted the $250,000 would be in addition to existing SOEC budgets.

Council eventually accepted option two with its allocation of $445,000.

The SOEC event isn’t expected to take place until later this year or early next year, depending on how quickly COVID-19 protocols are relaxed.

Other high priority items for implementation include promotion of a shop local campaign, continued investment in airport marketing and an increase in the number of RCMP and community safety officers.

Medium priority recommendations include resident attraction campaigns, investing in regional marketing efforts and provincial government lobbying for mental health and addictions facilities, while items recommended for lower priority implementation included providing operational support for business and directing parking revenue toward community safety.


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