Challenge Penticton’s owners are disappointed, but undeterred, after local politicians voted Thursday to turn down their request for a sponsorship deal.
In a unanimous decision, the board of the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen decided to take a pass on a three-year, $48,000 agreement proposed in July by the race operators.
“It’s disappointing, but we know how these things work and they don’t always go your way, and we just hope we can make it work for them next year somehow,” co-owner Michael Brown said in an interview afterwards.
“This is just a bump in the road, and a fault of our own was we got to the RDOS pretty late in the game,” he continued.
“We made some mistakes and we look forward to working with them symbiotically in the future.”
According to an RDOS staff report, directors agreed to sponsor the triathlon in each of the past two years when it was owned by the City of Penticton and operated by a non-profit society. The race is now in private hands, however, which means it no longer qualifies for a grant in aid.
As for a pure sponsorship deal, the report, which recommended directors reject the proposal, noted the funds would have to come from a non-existent fund for economic development.
“I’d hate to see this thing go sideways, but as the staff report makes clear, just imagine what happens if this company makes a profit of $13,000 next year. It would be very easy to say, (the RDOS) just turned around and gave these guys $13,000,” said West Bench Director Michael Brydon.
Oliver Mayor Ron Hovanes reminded colleagues the race owners also committed to paying back a $300,000 debt the former operating society owed the City of Penticton, so funds from the RDOS could conceivably be used to reimburse the municipality.
“I’m uncomfortable with that,” Hovanes said.
Brown said he plans to approach the RDOS again next year with a more fulsome presentation, since support from communities outside Penticton, including those through which athletes pass during the event and in training, is crucial to the race financially and logistically.
Preparations for this year’s event, set for Aug. 30, are going “full steam ahead,” he added, and the race is still looking to sign up more volunteers. People interested in donating their time can visit the race office at 324 Westminster Ave. weekdays between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. or visit www.challenge-penticton.com.