Lead singer Kelly Hansen and guitarist Bruce Watson of Foreigner rock a packed house at the SOEC in October. Mark Brett/Penticton Western News

Costs rising on SOEC campus

SOEC complex losses expected to increase.

The South Okanagan Events Centre complex might have generated more income in 2017, but any gains were balanced by increased expenses.

The complex, which includes the SOEC, Memorial Arena, the community rink and the Penticton Trade and Convention Centre is projected to have an increased revenue of $200,000. At the same time, utilities jumped by a projected $106,000 as a result of a 9.5 per cent increase in rates and the city’s new water sewage charges. The SOEC, now almost a decade old, is also seeing increased costs for repairs and maintenance as equipment ages.

Overall, the complex is projecting over $3.5 million in revenue and over $4.5 million in expenses, resulting in a total (projected) loss of $1,100,406. In 2018, that loss is expected to jump to just over $1.18 million.

Still, general manager Dean Clarke says the complex is performing well, pointing out the sold-out crowd for the Jerry Seinfeld show that night (Nov. 30).

“Tonight will be the busiest the building has ever been. This will be the highest attended event we’ve ever had,” said Clarke. “That’s tremendous when you are talking about November, during the week.”

The convention centre plays an integral role in the campus. According to Clarke, it’s necessary for the larger shows and events.

“Without that facility, we are unable to achieve the tremendous special events,” said Clarke. “We have an excellent partnership with the Vancouver Canucks and we host their Young Stars tournament every year. We cannot do that without the trade centre.”

Clarke said they are also planning to invest in upgrading the suites in the SOEC in 2018, in hopes of extending leases on the suites.

“With the combination of the confidence we are showing in the market — the last 18 months we’ve had incredible events. This is the moment if we invest in that piece, we are going to be able to go back to our clients and ask for renewals and new lease deals,” said Clarke. “We are looking for longer-term deals with this investment we are going to make with the suites.

“There isn’t a better moment for us.”

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