The City of Penticton has announced it will be taking over the Downtown Penticton Association’s civic events beginning this year.
City council heard from executives with the DPA at the regular meeting on March 5 requesting an increased partnership on the civic events that the association plans and executes annually. These events are Penticton’s Canada Day celebration, B.C. Day celebration, Santa Claus Parade and Rock the Sun Live Music in Gyro Park.
Initially, the DPA was looking to partner with the city to share the burden of the cost associated with each of these events. Based on 2018 calculations, it costs the association $141,000 annually to take on these events and with grants from the city and federal government, the bill comes to $111,555 for the association to cover.
“The biggest and most expensive events that the DPA offers is our civic events,” said Lynn Allin, DPA executive director during the council presentation.“When we come up with a new event or initiative, the question the board always asks is how it will benefit the membership. How does having a Canada Day event actually benefit the business community? And the benefits aren’t black and white on this.”
According to Bregje Kozak, when city staff met with executives with DPA following the council meeting the association had already decided “to give up those events because it was a financial hardship for them.” The discussion then changed focus from the DPA partnering with the city to host these events to the city taking over their planning and operation entirely.
“The city has some big shoes to fill in taking over these important events,” said the city’s director of recreation and facilities, Bregje Kozak in a press release issued March 12. “We have an experienced event team that is excited to take this on and ensure that these key civic events continue in our community. Stay tuned for more information as our event team gets up to speed on the detailed planning and implementation requirements. We will keep the community informed of our progress and event details going forward.”
Kozak said council will hear a request from staff at the March 19 meeting to redirect the allotted grants to the DPA for planning these events into the sport and event budget instead. She said the transition process to have the city take over the 2019 events is already underway, and the city won’t be looking to change too much in their execution given the time period they have to organize them.
“We just need to get all of the details for what the DPA has done so far (for planning this year’s events), and we’ll take it from there,” said Kozak. “They don’t have time to change too much because it’s already March and the next event happens in July. The plan is to take it over as the DPA has been running them, and if anything needs to be tweaked we’ll let the public know ahead of time.”
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