The City of Kimberley has committed to continue participation with Tourism Kimberley at a cost of $75,000 annually.
At a regular Council meeting on Monday, March 26, Council discussed the funding renewal and decided to keep funds at $75,000, despite a recommendation from staff to amend the contribution to $45,000.
Since 2007, the City has been a member of Tourism Kimberley, and in 2013, the City began paying Tourism Kimberley $31,500 annually to operate the Visitor Centre.
In the most recent Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) from 2012 to 2017, the City’s annual financial commitment has been $75,000 annually toward a total budget of approximately $400,000.
During those terms, the tourism sector performance has been strong, according to Economic Development Officer Kevin Wilson.
In 2017, the hotel room tax was trending 11 per cent over the year prior, which eclipsed 2008 as the best tourism year recorded.
In a report to Council, Wilson states that RCR is reducing its ski contribution to Tourism Kimberley from $75,000 to $15,000.
Councillor Albert Hoglund says he was originally in favour of paring back the funding from $75,000 to $45,000 as recommended, however since there are some changes being made in Marketing plans and RCR’s funding contribution, he sees $75,000 as appropriate.
“After some discussions I can see leaving it at that level ($75,000) and if Council wants to change their mind, you can do it on a yearly basis,” said Hoglund. “The reason is because RCR cut their contribution down considerably, and when this committee was formed about ten years ago, the hope was that the City would get out of contributing to it, the room tax would take over to fund the committee, but it hasn’t worked that way.”
Mayor Don McCormick explained that although the MOU is for five years, funding is renewable on an annual basis.
“As the report details there’s a bunch of other changes with the golf courses coming on board etc.,” said Councillor Kent Goodwin. “It may be worthwhile keeping it at the level it is until we see how that plays out. Then we’ll have a better idea, and as Councillor Hoglund says, we can look at it again in the future.”
Wilson says that golf sector membership revenue is increasing from $80,000 to $200,000, with the addition of four Cranbrook area courses: Wildstone, Shadow Mountain, St. Eugene, and Cranbrook Golf Club.
“Adding these courses to those in Kimberley enables marketing of seven courses as one golf destination, for which Kimberley is advertised as the home base,” Wilson explained.
Other changes include the fact that the current Executive Director of Tourism Kimberley Jesse Ferguson recently announced his resignation.
“His replacement has not yet been selected and Jesse will remain to oversee a transition in the coming months,” said Wilson. “Without consideration for a reduced contribution from the City, Jesse has suggested the Executive Director role may not remain a full-time position. With RCR absorbing the work to market Kimberley ski product and the Conference Centre, there is simply less work to do.”