City examining options to boost SOEC revenues

The city councillor who chairs the city’s South Okanagan Events Centre advisory board wants ideas from the public on how to make the facility and its surrounding campus of city-owned buildings less of a burden on the taxpayers of Penticton.

Coun. Mike Pearce said the committee is investigating the feasibility and wisdom of different strategies to decrease expenses and increase revenues.

“I always want to hear from the public,” said Pearce. “I am inviting members of the public to contact me and come up with different methods of how to raise additional money.

“We are bound and determined to bring the costs down.”

One idea that has been proposed to the committee is the possibility of charging for parking at the SOEC parking lot.

“Originally in the projections for the SOEC it showed revenue around $300,000 for parking annually, so we are just reviewing that,” said Pearce. “It seems everyone else in the world charges for parking. But (before this even becomes an issue) we have to deal with whether or not we (the committee) are even going to make a recommendation to council and what format it might take.”

Pearce said there are many options the committee will look at.

“It could be many things,” he said. “It could be different for Vees games than for concerts. We could maybe build the parking charge into ticket prices.

“I watched what happened generally with the hospital and how they ran into all those problems when they tried to create general parking (fees) all around it. So we will have to wait and see because we haven’t had enough discussion about it.”

Pearce said he would prefer to find new or increased revenue sources from situations where the general public is not asked to pay for something it has become accustomed to getting for free.

“We could maybe increase the reader board out front to include more ads and get a salesman out there selling it,” Pearce suggested. “We are looking for anything. Whether we reformat the buffet up in The Vault (Bar and Grill) or whether we get a sponsor to name the campus as a whole.

“Some people say just turn everything off and just run the (SOEC) at basic costs and don’t have any concerts in there. Well that is not going to be accepted because people expect a certain amount of things going on in there.”

Pearce even threw out the possibility of bringing in an arcade or a gaming centre.

As far as this year’s budget for the entire campus goes, Pearce estimated that Global Spectrum will probably come in at least $100,000 under its $1.665 million budget.

“I think this year is going really well,” he said. “We have cut down on the number of concerts this year because we found they were losing money, and we went to having co-promotions which narrowed our risk.

“We will also be pushing to increase the convention business at the convention centre because those are good money-makers. So there are a lot of things that are happening.”


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