The Downtown Penticton Business Improvement Association was given exactly what it wanted following council’s budget deliberations on Wednesday, March 15.
After a split 4-3 vote, the downtown BIA that hosts the city’s weekly community market, light-up festival and other events found themselves on the right side of a $22,600 grant approval, which is more than double from year’s past.
Coun. Ryan Graham brought forward a motion to fulfill the DPBIA’s grant request of $22,600, after city staff had recommended the group only receive a total of $10,600 for 2023.
“I’d like to see a little bit of better investments into these events,” Graham said when speaking on the group’s recent efforts in organizing the late-November light-up festival, among other gatherings.
The DPBIA received a $5,000 grant from the city in 2020, $8,320 in 2021 and $7,300 in 2022.
Graham, who previously served as the association’s president, had his motion supported by Mayor Julius Bloomfield and councillors Amelia Boultbee and Isaac Gilbert.
Councillors James Miller, Campbell Watt and Helena Konanz were opposed.
Graham’s successful motion ensures the DPBIA will receive $15,000 in cash this year, and an additional in-kind amount of $7,600, which covers road closures for the Saturday market.
Although city staff proposed the same in-kind grant of $7,600, they instead recommended a $3,000 cash grant for this year.
The DPBIA was joined by Slackwater Brewing in September 2022 in hosting a “Slack Alley,” a gathering that featured music, art, food and culture behind the Martin Street brewery.
In collaboration with the city, the group also hosted Canada Day and B.C. Day festivities at Gyro Park last summer.
“Anyone who’s been around for a while knows that (DPBIA) always did these events and there wasn’t any funding necessary from the city,” Konanz said. “They’ve also cut down on their events significantly.”
Staff confirmed at Wednesday’s meeting that the city’s recreation department has partnered with the DPBIA to host many civic events, like the holiday celebrations and music in the park gatherings.
“We have a strong partnership there and is funding support and collaboration on those specific events,” said Kelsey Johnson, the city’s manager of recreation, arts and culture.
Johnson added that the city is looking at opportunities to collaborate with the DPBIA during this year’s Ironman Canada event.
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