Challenge Triathlon request for support

Board date: 
Thursday, July 16, 2015

Kevin Cutjar and Michael Brown from Valley First Challenge Penticton made a presentation to the board asking for a three-year contribution (roughly $15K per year).  The RDOS has given grants to the Challenge Triathlon in the past two years to help the transition from Ironman to Challenge.  The primary difference this year is that the event is once again owned by a for-profit company rather than the City of Penticton.

I am not sure if and when a debate on this proposal will come before the board.  The outlying towns and areas seem much less convinced of the regional economic benefit.  Penticton is already supporting Challenge through hefty in-kind contributions.  And, since RDOS grants are funded from General Government (or Economic Development) and since these services are funded based on assessed value, the City of Penticton would pay for about 40% of any RDOS contribution.

Looking for comments one way or another.

Update: the RDOS board voted against this due to the new ownership structure of the race.  This is not to say that we are not fully behind the race or its new owners.  The problem is that one of two things is true:

  1. The race is a business, in which case the owners' risk of loss is offset by the possibility of profit. We cannot have a situation in which individuals reap the rewards of success and taxpayers absorb the costs of failure.
  2. The race is a public good, in which case ongoing government subsidy is appropriate to maximize overall community benefits.  However, if this is the case there cannot be profit-taking.  Subsidies necessarily imply not-for-profit status and a return of any surplus to the subsidy provider.


When I asked for a very small grant early this year for a charity event (ongoing) it was refused on the basis it constituted forced donating by taxpayers. The fact that the RDOS would consider a grant for a for-profit event has no support here.

Yes, I am trying to scale back all discretionary grant-giving by the rural director.  These grants seem to me to pose a risk of favoritism and cronyism.  The new RDOS policy for electoral area grants requires complete transparency: starting this year a list of all grant recipients and all amounts will be prepared with the budget.

Having said that, many projects and organizations in the community are deserving of our support.  Although I am generally against "mandatory charity" (giving away your taxes as grants), I am wondering whether Area F should make a small block contribution (say $10K -- roughly what many other rural directors spend on grants) to an organization with granting competence at its core (for example the Community Foundation).  The advantage of this approach is that granting decisions in these organizations are made by a panel of community members using specific criteria to maximize impact.  It just strikes me as a more just and effective process than asking an electoral area director for money every year.

Any thoughts on this?

I don't have an issue with Area F making a donation to a grant-giving organization such as Community Foundation. I do have an issue granting funds to a for-profit organization such as Challenge, when our request for a very small grant to help raise funds for Penticton Regional Hospital was rejected.