EDITORIAL: PHA dispute may bite council at election

Penticton voters can and will express their opinion on whether putting the city’s tourism marketing in jeopardy was money well spent.

If you’re not outraged over the City of Penticton’s handling of the dispute over the additional hotel room tax tourism funds, you may not be paying attention.

It’s been nine months since the city tried to terminate the contract giving the Penticton Hospitality Association control of the funds, which are earmarked for external tourism marketing of the area.

In the latest chapter of the saga, a B.C. Supreme Court justice found that the city’s reasons for terminating the contract were, ultimately, baseless.

Meanwhile, the PHA ran out of HRT funds a few months ago, putting an end to the marketing efforts they had managed to continue despite the city holding back new disbursements since last August. Through it all, the city says they have spent a little less than $42,000 on legal expenses. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg — first, add to that the PHA court costs, which Justice Betton awarded as part of his decision. Next, think about the potential millions lost to Penticton’s tourism sector through lack of marketing.

That goes all the way back to 2011, when this roller coaster ride began, after city council chose not to renew the chamber of commerce’s tourism marketing contract.

It was some bad decision-making that got the city here. Ultimately, that falls in council’s lap, but council makes their decisions based on advice from staff. Then there is the legal advice. Justice Betton’s comments make it clear there wasn’t much substance to the city’s allegations, so why didn’t Boyle and Co., the city’s legal firm, advise against pursuing legal action?

Penticton needs to take a good hard look at the decisions and advice that led to this debacle. The biggest loser in this situation has been the taxpayer. It’s time to determine who is accountable for putting us here and take action.

Come the November municipal election, Penticton voters can and will express their opinion on whether putting the city’s tourism marketing in jeopardy was money well spent.

 

Just Posted

Osoyoos chef Murray McDonald was ecstatic upon realizing he scored the $1 million guaranteed prize in the June 2, 2021 Lotto 6/49 draw. (Contributed)
Osoyoos chef ecstatic after bagging $1 million Lotto 6/49 win

Chef Murray McDonald was at home and ready to doze off to sleep when he got a text from his wife

It's believed the Sacred Hearts church on PIB land burned Sunday night. (Aileen Mascasaet Maningas)
UPDATE: Two churches on band land in South Okanagan burn to the ground

Sacred Hearts church on Penticton Indian Band land was reduced to rubble

The Coquihalla Lakes washroom is getting upgrades. (Submitted)
Okanagan Connector to get upgrades to aging washrooms

The Ministry of Transportation recently announced $1 million in funding for the upgrades

People at the beach in front of Discovery Bay Resort on Tuesday, July 14. (Michael Rodriguez - Capital News)
Heat wave forecast for Okanagan-Shuswap

Temperatures are forecast to hit record breaking highs this week

James Miller, the managing editor at the Penticton Herald, celebrates his win with his dog Milo after finding out he was elected as city councillor in Saturday night’s by-election. (Submitted)
Penticton’s newly elected city councillor explains how he can be both editor and politician

James Miller picked up a third of the votes in Saturday’s by-election

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

t
Motorcyclist critically injured in Westside Road collision

Motorcyclist collides with vehicle, struck by another: preliminary police findings

Asia Youngman (right) is pictured shooting another short film she wrote and directed titled Hatha. (Luba Popovic)
Peachland set to star in fantasy thriller film about N’xaxaitk’w — a.k.a. the Ogopogo

The film will follow an Indigenous teen as she navigates peer pressure, bullying and identity

The Crofton trailer park home where the bodies of two people were found. (Photo by Don Bodger)
Kelowna mom still waiting for answers after daughter and her fiance found dead

Pair discovered in their Vancouver Island home in May identified as Rachel Gardner and Paul Jenkins

Tony Costa/ Facebook
UPDATE: Out-of-control fire burning above Peachland

The blaze sparked on Sunday and is believed to be lightning caused

Tl’etinqox-lead ceremony at the site of the former St. Joseph’s Mission in Williams Lake, B.C., June 18, 2021. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
‘We are all one people’: Honouring residential school victims and survivors

Love, support and curiousity: Canadians urged to learn about residential schools and their impact

Indigenous rights and climate activists gathered outside Liberty Mutual’s office in Vancouver to pressure the insurance giant to stop covering Trans Mountain. (Photo by Andrew Larigakis)
Activists work to ensure Trans Mountain won’t get insurance

Global campaign urging insurance providers to stay away from Canadian pipeline project

In the first election with public money replacing corporate or union donations, B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson, B.C. Greens leader Sonia Furstenau and B.C. NDP leader John Horgan take part in election debate at the University of B.C., Oct. 13, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS)
B.C. MLAs ponder 2022 ‘sunset’ of subsidy for political parties

NDP, B.C. Fed call for increase, B.C. Liberals have no comment

Most Read