By Jensen, Randy on June 4, 2020.
City council has agreed to cancel $250,000 in funding for the 2020 Paradise Canyon Open and make the same amount of money available in 2021 instead.
With this year’s Mackenzie Tour cancelled due to COVID-19, there was some speculation council might decide to withdraw the funding altogether for the Paradise Canyon Open and repurpose it instead in other areas of budgetary need. But during Monday’s city council meeting councillors voted 6-3, (the two-thirds majority needed), to rescind the original motion and to extend the funding until 2021 instead.
Mayor Chris Spearman explained after the vote council had originally made a commitment to fund the Paradise Canyon Open leg of the Mackenzie Tour for three years in 2018, 2019 and 2020, and felt it was important to honour the original agreement.
“City council agreed to fund this tournament for $250,000 a year for three years, and all we did today was say the tournament could not go ahead in 2020; due to the COVID-19 crisis the whole Mackenzie Tour was cancelled,” Spearman explained. “So what we are doing is just moving that funding forward into 2021. We believe the tournament has some value in terms of providing exposure to the City of Lethbridge, and has an economic development benefit to hotels and restaurants in the city who are full for a week. So there are some benefits, and we need to make sure we support the economy of Lethbridge going forward.”
Spearman was asked did not the same logic then apply to the Tim Hortons Brier 2022 bid brought forward for consideration earlier in the day? An event which had far more potential economic benefit to the community than the Paradise Canyon Open?
“We are looking at every one of our projects on their own,” answered Spearman. “We made a three-year commitment to the Mackenzie Tour, and we are simply honouring that. How do we look at different things? Last year we hosted the Men’s World Curling and we also hosted the university hockey championship. Each one had a different impact and we’re simply making those decisions independent of each other.”
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