Penticton still on track for 2018 Scotties bid

Penticton city council voted to stick with the ongoing 2018 bid for the Scotties Tournament of Hearts

Hoisting the broom at the advance ticket sales table Sunday at the Barking Parrot (from left to right) are Kim Kirkham

Hoisting the broom at the advance ticket sales table Sunday at the Barking Parrot (from left to right) are Kim Kirkham

Penticton is still going after the 2018 Scotties Tournament of Hearts, despite a staff recommendation the bid be switched to 2019.

Pulling out of the bid process for the 2018 Canadian women’s curling championship could have consequences, council was warned.

“If another city in B.C. should get it in 2018, our chances of getting it in 2019 are slim to none,” said Kim Kirkham, co-chair of the Scotties Tournament of Hearts Bid Committee.

Besides Sydney, N.S., council was told that Langley was also looking at making a bid. If they were successful, Kirkham said it would likely be a four to five-year cycle before Curling Canada looked for a western community again.

Chad Douglas, sports and events project manager for the city, said that though Penticton had the capacity, venues and volunteers to host the Scotties, it lacks provincial and regional support to host the 2018 tournament.

“Despite pulling out all the stops, it (the bid committee) came up short of its goal to collect 1,000 deposits,” said Douglas, who also was concerned a 2018 Penticton Scotties would be competing with the 2018 Winter Olympics for attention.

”For the 2018 Scotties in Penticton to outdraw recent Scotties, such as Grande Prairie, AB which posted attendance of 36,854 in 2016, it will need overnight visitors to rival residents in attendance numbers,” wrote Douglas in his report.

Kirkham said they have built up considerable community support through their Rock the Bid promotion.

“It is a bit of a snowball effect. It takes time, you start with one fan and you build from there,” said Kirkham.

Rock the Bid has been able to collect 364 deposits for passes. The goal of 1,000, committee representatives said, turned out not to be realistically achievable.

Kirkham said they have been able to create a number of strong partnerships, including not only the Penticton curling club but letters of support from the Chamber of Commerce, Tourism Penticton, a $40,000 commitment from the Penticton Hospitality Association and commitments from hoteliers on rate packages for the event.

Coun. Tarik Sayeed suggested the challenges should be looked at as opportunities, and Mayor Andrew Jakubeit said Penticton had a solid chance of winning the 2018 bid.

“I think they are looking for an excuse to come out west if there is a great proposal,” said Jakubeit.

Council voted 6-1 in support of continuing the 2018 bid process. Proposals are due at Curling Canada on June 30.