Most of Travel Penticton’s 13-member board and its staff spent one or two nights at the swanky resort near Vernon, where they apparently plotted strategy for 2019.
Travel Penticton gave its report at the last council meeting; only Coun. Frank Regehr questioned the amount of subsidies this tourist organization receives from Penticton taxpayers. Council had the opportunity to responsibly satisfy the public on the expenditure of $10,000 for a luxury weekend by this group. Yet they appeared too weak-kneed to ask for an accounting for deserving taxpayers.
Aside from the $300,000 tax grab from the homeowners of Penticton, taxpayers support tourism through many products and services.
Parks and beaches, including annual maintenance, for the use and enjoyment of residents and visitors.
Roads and street improvements and maintenance for travel to various shopping, restaurants and entertainment services
The SOEC with high-quality acts and entertainment running a million-dollar deficit
Festivals and events to encourage tourist participation.
Skaha Marina and taxpayers know how much that cost in uproar, unrest and failed contracts.
Thousands of tax dollars in in-kind services are provided by the city annually to encourage organizers of festivals and events.
Protective services and bylaw officers to keep the downtown presentable for the benefit of tourists, and provide protection for events as needed.
Is this council so cowed by the lawsuit they previously rightfully lost to the hotel industry that they have no backbone to stand up for Penticton taxpayers when necessary?
Regehr also was the only one that didn’t give the budget a nod; a yawn and a pass. Regehr was likely elected for his outstanding abilities and knowledge in the fields of accounting. Too bad this council does not understand the necessity of taking advantage of this valuable countercheck to giving civil servants a pass on the use of taxpayer dollars.
I have requested more information from the city on Travel Penticton expenditures.
As long as Penticton contributes towards the funding of Travel Penticton, taxpayers have every right to expect this council to release a detailed and complete accounting of exactly how the total budget for this tourist organization is spent.