The vote to deny a three-year sponsorship deal with the Valley First Challenge Penticton was passed unanimously by the Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen board Thursday.
The $48,000 partnership was presented to the board during the July 16 regular meeting by Challenge co-owners Kevin Cutjar and Michael Brown.
“It was a good presentation, but poor application,” said Oliver Mayor Ron Hovanes. “There’s no books, there’s no budget.”
Hovanes was also hesitant to support the sponsorship due to profits from the event going toward paying back the City of Penticton for the debt incurred when the city retained the license. The new owners of the Challenge race were given five years to spread the payment of the debt to the city out.
Some board members were open to a less lengthy sponsorship deal, but felt the proposal came in too close the Aug. 26 start date of the triathlon.
“I think we would all like to see Challenge in Penticton be successful. I also remember the discussion that some rural areas and some of the other municipalities not having anything to gain,” Area ‘D’ director Tom Siddon said. “I’ll support (denying the sponsorship), but it troubles me a little bit that we can’t in some way provide some sponsorship. I don’t like the idea of three years, and the fact that it came in so late.”
Area ‘F’ Director Michael Brydon agreed with Siddon and noted that not enough information was provided on the finances and how they would be implemented.
“… just imagine what happens if this company makes a profit of $13,000 this year,” Brydon said. “It would be very easy to turn around and say you just gave these guys $13,000.”
“Without access to the books we don’t know. For that very simple reason I don’t know if we can do this,” Brydon said. “We don’t have any transparency of where our money is going.”
Terry Schafer, Area ‘C’ Director, noted that similar events like the Ultra520K Canada triathlon that took place over August long weekend did so without sponsorship from the board.
Penticton Mayor Andrew Jakubeit excused himself from the vote due to a conflict of interest, having worked with the event in the past.
The triathlon also received a one-time $25,000 grant in aid from the RDOS three years ago when the City of Penticton held the license.