Canadian Lionel Sanders hoists the victory ribbon and Canadian flag , celebrating his victory at the ITU Multisport Long Distance World Championship in August. (File photo)

Lessons learned from ITU Festival

Penticton planning improved communication for future events

The City of Penticton has a long list of concerns it wants to address with organizers to ensure the new Super League Triathlon runs smoothly this summer.

Jim Bauer, the city’s chief financial officer, said there are a number of areas the city is looking at, including road permitting, safety, parks, esplanade and trail routes, finance, communications and co-ordination.

Related: Super League Triathlon coming to Penticton

“There is a number of learnings and improvements we can take from this as we look at delivering future events in the community,” said Bauer, looking back over the ITU Multisport World Championships in August 2017.

Recommendations released in a report to council Tuesday include working with organizers, selecting course routes to minimize traffic congestion and communicating better with businesses about those routes and detours.

That includes communicating approved detour routes with online map providers like Google, Magellan and Garmin to assist motorists in finding their way through the city during events.

Related: More communication needed on ITU road closures

With races events including offload portions, the list of “Learnings and Recommendations” also includes concerns about the stability and environmental effects on using areas like the Esplanade, asking whether the city should be allowing events in environmentally sensitive riparian areas.

Parking changes is also an area that is singled out for better communications with residents, including that more than one day’s notice is needed.

Bauer also asked city council to agree to shift some funding around to increase the money allocated to the ITU event in-kind expenses.

The city originally agreed to commit $250,000 to support the event:$125,000 in cash, and another $125,000 for in-kind expenses, services purchased from the city. Late in July 2017, that was increased to $190,000 for in-kind, by reallocating $65,000 from Challenge Penticton to the ITU Festival.

“Challenge Penticton ended up coming in under budget by a little over 15g and the ITU festival came in over budget by $22,483,” said Bauer. “If we were to reallocate the surplus from Challenge over to ITU, that would leave a difference of $7,379. After the remaining cash payment, that would net off to $2621.”

Some council members were concerned, though, about transferring funds around to balance budgets for separate events.

Chief Administrative Officer Peter Weeber explained that staff was also concerned, but highlighted the ITU Championship was a first-of-its-kind international event for the city, larger and running over a longer period than previous events.

“Our advice for the future and our contracts moving forward will reflect, will have strong language, in and around in-kind. Businesses are expected to be fiscally responsible. You can’t just shift the bottom line around,” said Weeber. “Moving forward, I definitely think the council should be wary and hold the line on agreements. In this case, our recommendation is flexibility. It was a test run, it brought tremendous value to the community.“

The ITU Championship event brought over 3,500 athletes to Penticton and generated an estimated $8.7 million in economic impact for the community according to Bauer, explaining the event was larger than expected.

“When the budget was originally set, it was estimated to have about 2,500 participants. With a much higher volume of participants, over 3,500, that drove up the overall costs,” he said.

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