Military tattoo seeks city support, but new policy could see it denied

Tattoo funding up in air

The Okanagan Military Tattoo is seeking a break on city fees next year, with the event staged on a new date.

The Tattoo is eligible for Heritage Canada funding, but that is dependent on local government support.

The military themed music and parade event has rebooked for 2024, at the end of May instead of in July.

A report to council states the city provided more than $10,000 through the waiving of fees and in-kind support to the tattoo this year.

However, city staff recommend council not approve the tattoo's request $5,000 in-kind and a $5,000 waiver of facility fees.

The report says the city's recent parks and recreation facilities fee assessment "peaks to the necessity of a granting process for groups, such as the tattoo, to apply for a waiver of facility fees.

"When a grant process is adopted by council, this process will be in place by the end of 2023. Without the guidance of a clear process, it is important to be consistent and predictable with all user groups. Other user groups of Kal Tire Place have not received this type of subsidized support and have paid the appropriate fees associated with their rental in 2023."

The planned 5% increase in facility fees has raised the ire of several community groups that book city venues for public events, and it has been panned by the chamber of commerce.

In a letter to council, tattoo organizer Derek Hall says: "As a major arts and cultural event, with close to 400 performers and over 125 volunteers, we rely heavily various levels of government for grants and strategic partnerships. Approximately one-third of our revenue comes from ticket sales, one-third from government and one-third from private sector sponsorship and partnerships."

The city report adds the fee assessment "also speaks to the importance of facility fees remaining pure and facilities receiving their full fee so that budgets do not fall short."

If funding is denied for 2024, it's unclear how that will affect the viability of the tattoo.

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