Rankled downtown business association asks Penticton council for apology - InfoNews

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Rankled downtown business association asks Penticton council for apology

Downtown Penticton Association representatives (from left) Rob Kushner, Christina Conquergood, Lynn Allin, Ryan Graham and Steve Brown held a press conference, Monday, April 8, 2019, to discuss recent comments made by Penticton city councillors regarding the association's relinquishing hosting duties for several civic events.
April 08, 2019 - 2:58 PM

PENTICTON - Members of Penticton's downtown business association would like an apology for negative comments made by some councillors regarding the handing off of several high-profile civic events.

The Penticton Downtown Association asked for the apology at press conference today, April 8, held to react to comments made with respect to the organization giving the city no warning it was going to withdraw from hosting and funding several annual civic events including the Santa Parade, the Canada Day event and fireworks, the B.C. Day celebrations and Rock the Sun.

Association executive director Lynn Allin said representatives from her organization attended four meetings with the city on the subject over several months between November 2018 and February 2019 prior to the presentation to city council on March 5 when the decision to withdraw from the civic events was outlined.

“Our assertion is, we asked many times to meet with city council just to have a discussion about why we were doing this and the steps we were going to take," Allin said. "It was not asking for money, it was asking for conversation,” Allin said.

Association member-at-large Steve Brown said an apology from council would be nice and added, "But we’re talking about a bunch of politicians and bureaucrats, so I don’t think that’s going to happen.”

“What we want is some civil discourse, and if we’re going to move this thing forward, we’re perfectly happy to help them with that process, but some of the outrageous remarks they are making has to stop, and they need to come to us and say, ‘hey, let’s put this back on course,' however that happens.”

Brown said a thank you wouldn’t hurt either, as the association spent more than a half million dollars staging the events and "all we’ve taken for the last several weeks is abuse."

Allin pointed out operation of the civic events was never a part of the downtown business association's mandate.

“It was something we took over to be helpful and that started in 2013,” she said. “After review last year, the board just decided to get back on our mandate.”

"Our membership is 100 per cent behind what we are doing.”

Allin said they understand the need for the civic events and offered to help during the transition as the City takes them on.

“We have a really easy, working relationship with city staff, and we expect it will continue, it’s absolutely our intention,” she said. 

Allin said the association is looking to create a plan for downtown that incorporates the business community in a far different way then in the past.

“Right now, we’re trying to get behind the civic events and move forward,” she says.

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