The group putting on the Challenge Penticton triathlon is in line for a $25,000 boost with the race now just seven weeks away.
Despite previous reservations, a committee of the board of the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen voted last week to devote half of its $50,000 economic development fund to the triathlon society. The full board is expected to approve the expenditure at its next meeting July 18. In April, Challenge Penticton general manager Barb Haynes provided an update on race preparations and asked the RDOS for the cash in exchange for promotional consideration. Then in June, the board was presented with several ideas on which it could spend its economic development fund, including the race, but elected to do nothing. Mark Pendergraft, the board chair and director for rural Osoyoos, said some colleagues had a change of heart.
“It was brought forward by a couple of the board (committee) members that had reconsidered and thought that it was going to be a good use of that fund, and they feel it’s important to get Challenge off to a good start,” Pendergraft said.
Osoyoos Mayor Stu Wells was among several directors who previously expressed concern about a lack of regional return on the investment.
“In my area, the spin-offs are very, very limited,” he said at the June 7 board meeting.
Wells was absent from last week’s meeting, but Pendergraft said he understands his neighbour’s concerns.
“For the rural area, particularly mine down at the far end, I don’t expect there would be a lot of economic development … down our way. But there’s always some spin- off. There are fruit stands and whatnot that might get a little extra business.”