2022 was a comeback year for Penticton’s recreation and cultural community.
Following the hosting of 12 major events, more than 35,000 visits to the fitness room and close to 19,000 hours of sports facility rentals last year, the city is expecting its ongoing return to pre-pandemic levels recovery to continue in 2023.
Kelsey Johnson, the city’s manager for recreation, arts and culture, told council this week that Penticton received a total of 106 event applications from organizers in 2022.
From Peachfest to Ribfest and the Okanagan Granfondo, events were back in 2022, after apparent demand from both organizers and the community alike, Johnson added.
Penticton’s Cleland Theatre was booked for 105 days in 2022 and received a number of audio and electrical upgrades.
Johnson says with the lifting of the province’s last COVID-19 mandate in April 2022, the city’s recreation department experienced a healthy recovery of services.
Moving into 2023, Johnson adds that usage for the fitness room, recreational programs, park rentals, sports fields and McLaren Arena are projected to either match or exceed pre-pandemic levels.
What isn’t expected to fully recover, though, is the aquatics centre.
“As we navigate through a national lifeguard shortage, we are working with local peers, along with provincial and national sector partners to address this challenge and implement creative solutions,” Johnson said.
Along with the return of 12 major events, like Peachfest, Penticton played host to a total of 15 sporting events, 53 community events and 20 private gatherings.
The city is expected to announce special Family Day (Monday, Feb. 20) events at its respective culture and recreation centres soon.