Parksville has decided not to join Qualicum Beach and other Island municipalities on BC Street at the O Zone, the cultural events area being staged in Richmond during the Olympics.
“This is going to be the world’s largest trade show,” argued mayor Ed Mayne, suggesting it would be a great marketing opportunity for the city.
The O Zone, called the largest free Olympic festival, will feature cultural and entertainment events, giant screens showing Olympics events, outdoor skating and free concerts.
Tofino has secured one of the 12 booths on BC Street near the Olympic skating oval, which will showcase 12 municipalities or groups from around the province, and they are inviting other Island communities to join them.
They are asking for $3,000 towards the $30,000 cost of the booth and people to help staff it.
In presenting the option to council Parksville Chief Administrative Officer Fred Manson said it would cost the city the $3,000 plus additional costs. He pointed out finding a hotel at this point might be impossible so they’d have to stay with friends or family anyway.
The city has $10,000 in it it’s economic development budget for the year, Manson said, adding that the event “will provide huge exposure for a relatively cheap cost.”
The Oceanside Tourism Association (OTA) will take part, contributing $5,000 and a lot of in-kind contributions collected from around the region.
Since Tofino is already bringing in beach-themed props the OTA plans to bring in their own sand and have people there building sandcastles.
Councillor Chris Burger said it sounded like the city is already going to be “pretty well covered, I’d rather spend the money on something like the community garden.”
“We’re not in the business of handing out flyers,” said coun. Al Greir arguing that this should be a private enterprise undertaking and the city should leave it to groups like the OTA and chamber of commerce.
Manson pointed out the chamber isn’t going and the OTA is representing the region, not specifically the city.
In the end council voted against taking part in the event directly.