No $25K for celebrity event

Council members in Osoyoos denied a request of $25,000 to help fund Sticks and Pics — a two-day celebrity charity event coming to the South Okanagan this spring that features NHL alumni and country music artists.

The event on May 16 and 17 is being organized by Osoyoos realtor Kevin Primeau — a former Vancouver Canucks player and former Edmonton Oilers assistant coach — as well as country music star Gord Bamford.

Primeau vied to council that the event puts Osoyoos first, and there would be a considerable spinoff from the town being in the spotlight of marketing and other initiatives.

In their report to council, town staff recommended against the funding request, saying there isn't a 100 per cent benefit to Osoyoos and the indirect benefits don't justify the investment.

"I think it’ll be great for the community and bring some very high-profile attention. But, as (staff's report) said, it’s not a 100 per cent direct benefit to our town," Coun. Carol Youngberg said.

Sticks and Pics will, however, receive $10,000 from Destination Osoyoos, and Youngberg pointed out "we do designate a certain amount of money to Destination Osoyoos for this very reason."

The event also has received two donations worth $17,000.

Mayor Sue McKortoff noted it wouldn't be a good use of taxpayer dollars for council to give that much money for a two-day event. 

She acknowledged the organizer's plan to have the event become an annual occurrence, and added that if the event went on to use Desert Park for a concert space in the future — as has been discussed — then council would consider an in-kind donation.

On Monday, council members also decided on four other funding requests brought forward during budget discussions.

Council voted to consider grant-in-aid funding for the Osoyoos Gift Cupboard, which was asking for $2,000 per year for long-term financial assistance.

The Osoyoos Museum Society will now receive $56,000 annually from the town's community grant service program for its operating costs — an increase of $5,000.

A request of council to spend about $110,000 to repair a sidewalk from Smitties to the south end of Peanut Pond will be delayed at least another. Council will include the project in its 2019 budget, and plans to use surplus funds from this year for it if possible.

Council also denied a request, for now, of $5,000 from Kenton Gilchrist, which was asked for to help pay for production of several videos to explore Osoyoos when the tourist season ends.


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