This year’s Santa Claus Parade will be hosted by the City of Penticton, rather than the Downtown Penticton Association, which has opted to no longer host the city’s civic events. Due to challenges the city faced in hosting the other civic events this year, such as Canada Day celebrations, B.C. Day celebrations and the Rock the Sun Live Music at Gyro Park, the city is seeking local organizations or non-profits to partner as hosts. (File Photo)

City of Penticton seeking partners to host annual civic events

The city said it faced multiple challenges in hosting this year’s civic events

The City of Penticton is looking to partner with local organizations or non-profits in hosting the city’s annual events.

At the regular meeting on Oct. 1, council voted to direct staff to “seek opportunities for delivery of civic events with local service organizations or non-profit societies” due to challenges identified after planning and executing multiple events this year.

In March, the Downtown Penticton Association (DPA) approached city council in regards to partnering in hosting events, such as the city’s Canada Day celebration, B.C. Day celebration, Santa Claus Parade and Rock the Sun Live Music in Gyro Park.

READ MORE: City of Penticton assumes ownership of DPA civic events

Shortly after their March presentation, members of the DPA decided to give up hosting the events due to the financial hardship, since it cost the association approximately $141,000 annually. This stirred controversy between the city and the DPA, with multiple members of council expressing their disappointment in the short notice and timing of the association’s decision, since they had just finalized the city’s budget.

DPA director Lynn Allin said at a press conference held in April that the association originally approached the city in November 2018.

“This is at least eight months notice for the events themselves,” Allin said. “More meetings with city staff followed in December, January and February, leading up to the delegation presentation on March 5.”

According to staff, the city hired an event coordinator to assist in the delivery of the 2019 events, but still faced challenges such as limited staff resources, the Canada Revenue Agency’s requirements “in terms of how we engage and pay the performers and acts,” the liability insurance for performers as well as the required special event insurance.

READ MORE: Councillors criticize Downtown Penticton Association actions to not host events

Staff also explained that since the city has municipality status, it faces “multiple barriers when recruiting sponsorship, donations and grants to support these events and reduce costs.”

The report to council showed that the cost of hosting, planning and implementing the events in 2019 is approximately $103,000, which includes the upcoming Santa Claus Parade.

“We did some research and most municipalities have either created a society or partnered with existing non-profits or societies to deliver these types of events. So this is something that we’d like to consider for future years,” said Bregje Kozak, director of recreation and culture with the city.

READ MORE: Downtown Penticton Association responds to city council’s disappointment

City staff will report back to council at a later date with options in terms of partnership opportunities available.

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Jordyn Thomson | Reporter
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