Council hands Penticton visitor centre to new group

Chamber contract expires in December when staff transition to business entity and report to new CEO, advisory board

  • Oct. 28, 2011 6:00 p.m.

Penticton council has awarded the visitors centre contract to a yet-incorporated entity called the Penticton Business Development Group, leaving at least one chamber member angry.

During a special council meeting called Friday, the decision to award the visitors centre and economic development contract worth $519,375 was brought out of in-camera discussion for the vote, which was approved unanimously with no discussion by councillors.

The contract is for one year, including a clause that permits possible extension.

Mayor Dan Ashton explained that current staff would have positions under the new contract, albeit under a probationary period. The centre and its staff will work under the auspices of a chief executive officer, who remains to be hired. A city-appointed advisory board will function as the overseeing body.

“At this point, I’d like to thank the chamber for their years of dedicated service,” he said.

Cary Schneiderat, vice-chair of the Penticton and Wine Country Chamber of Commerce, demanded an apology from the city for having “surreptitious” meetings with centre staff to offer employment before the chamber had had the opportunity to discuss the outcome of the RFP with their own staff.

“I think it’s disrespectful,” he said. “Those are and have been our employees for years.”

More to come.