Yukon North Of Ordinary

News archive for December 3, 2013

Yukon Convention Bureau seeks more city funding

The Yukon Convention Bureau (YCB) is an important part of the community, bringing much-needed business to town, says Mayor Dan Curtis.

By Stephanie Waddell on December 3, 2013 at 3:59 pm

photo

Photo by Whitehorse Star

Ed Peart

The Yukon Convention Bureau (YCB) is an important part of the community, bringing much-needed business to town, says Mayor Dan Curtis.

But whether the organization will see the requested increase to the $20,000 the city typically provides to it each year remains to be seen.

At Monday’s council meeting, YCB secretary/treasurer Ed Peart and executive director Alida Munro called on council to add another $5,000 to its annual contribution to the group, after thanking the city for its continued support over the years.

The additional requested cash, they said, would go directly into marketing to Ottawa as a new gateway city.

As Peart explained, with Air North making plans for a twice weekly Whitehorse/Yellowknife/Ottawa route next year, it opens up opportunities in a new market.

“This is golden for us,” Munro said.

As she explained when questioned on the request by Coun. Kirk Cameron, in the past, the lack of a direct flight from Ottawa has created problems in drawing meetings from Ottawa where a number of major NGOs have their head offices.

It’s the “number one hurdle” in drawing meetings to the territory from organizations based in Ottawa.

“That is a hindrance,” she said, noting that those travelling from Ottawa have had to fly to Calgary, Edmonton or Vancouver, then switch planes to come to Whitehorse.

Once Air North is flying to Ottawa from Whitehorse, the only stop will be in Yellowknife to pick up or let passengers off and gas up.

Air North has said it expects to release a schedule for the proposed route early in the new year.

The YCB has an annual budget of approximately $300,000, including the $20,000 that comes from the city as well as funding from the territory and a number of organizations.

The bureau works to bring meetings and conventions to the territory.

As Peart pointed out, the city is the main benefactor of those efforts, which last year brought in $4.5 million in economic benefits to the territory.

It’s expected the convention market will bring in $6 million for 2013.

For the city, Peart argued, that means a return of $300 into the local economy for every $1 it contributes.

Curtis couldn’t guarantee approval for the funding, stating a committee is tasked with looking at such requests. However, he noted the city is seeing more and more organizations seek additional cash from the city.

It’s expected some sort of policy on distributing cash to various groups in a more equitable way could be brought forward soon, and that could impact how much funding is available to the YCB and other organizations.

Curtis noted his belief that the work of the convention bureau is important, and he expects Air North’s flights to Ottawa to be positive for the city and territory overall.

As he noted, many from the territory travel to Ottawa fairly regularly on business. When he headed up Skills Canada Yukon, for example, he travelled to Ottawa about three times a year.

He also praised Air North for continuing to invest in the territory and offering new routes.

Air North president Joe Sparling has said in the past his company is working to retain its place in the marketplace with new initiatives.

Those include flights between Whitehorse and Kelowna as part of its Vancouver route, and the plans for Whitehorse/Yellowknife/Ottawa route.

CommentsAdd a comment

bobby bitman

Dec 3, 2013 at 4:34 pm

Do we have a hotel tax in Whitehorse?  This is a common way for cities to recoup the infrastructure costs associated with tourist use, and to fund requests such as this one.  Alternately, the hotels could choose to voluntarily give 5% of their revenues to the convention bureau.  Admittedly there are a few hotels in Whitehorse that are not likely to see convention business, so they should be exempt.  There is probably some way to sort this out without the convention bureau going begging to the city tax payers, while the main benefactors are not in fact ‘the city’, but the corporate owned hotels and some restaurants.

June Jackson

Dec 3, 2013 at 4:37 pm

We are a small community, less than 20K TAXPAYERS with a 65 Million dollar operations budget. 

Perhaps not YCB specifically, but speaking in general, our Councils simply have to stop supporting everything and everyone that makes it to City Hall looking for a handout.  Taxes projected to rise 7% in the next 2 years, plus 3.5% this year and a cut back in provision of service of 600K.  When is enough? When is the end of this constant, incessant never ending ‘give me, give me” going to end? 

People, organizations, get easy bucks the first time out, and pretty soon they want more and more and more.  You can hardly pick up a paper these days that someone isn’t asking for taxpayer money for something.

Sam Fister

Dec 3, 2013 at 5:14 pm

Lets fund SIMA and skateboard parks and let the Yukon Convention Bureau find its own way.

Mike Hunt

Dec 4, 2013 at 3:35 am

Every time I call YCB nobody is in the office. My tourism friends have shocking stories.  They are a joke and should be abolished.

Mike Hawk

Dec 4, 2013 at 11:39 am

The Convention Bureau is over funded already and I can think of numerous cuts they could make. Say NO City Council

Brice Carruthers

Dec 4, 2013 at 1:52 pm

Really….they should be asking Holland America and Northern Vision Development for money, as those companies benefit the most from conventions in Whitehorse.

Sally

Dec 4, 2013 at 5:04 pm

There is no hotel tax in the Yukon and no provision in the municipal act to allow one. If the city wants a hotel tax, they have to convince the Yukon Party to change the act to allow one to be established. Given the party’s platform of no new taxes: snowball, Hades, etc.

Yukon Jack

Dec 4, 2013 at 7:12 pm

How much are those radio ads where YCB promotes the Yukon as a meetings destination to the people of the Yukon? Seems like a waste

Wayne

Dec 4, 2013 at 7:17 pm

Until property taxes decrease significantly, and funding for frills stop, no calls for more
money should be accepted.

Spud

Dec 4, 2013 at 9:14 pm

Many of us seniors fortunate enough to have some sort of income are having a difficult time to keep up with continually rising property taxes, water, sewer, trash charge, fuel and property upkeep.  Please, no more handouts to big business for which us lowly taxpayer sees/reaps no benefit.  YTG tourism blows millions, the City does not need to compete with them.

Michel Dupont

Dec 5, 2013 at 9:16 am

Yukon Convention Bureau, that’s a joke folks.
How many Yukon Communities have the facilities and accommodation to host a convention of any size? Yes Whitehorse should cough up because you know what? That is where the conventions happen. It’s the Whitehorse businesses that enjoy the economic spinoffs from the Bureau’s activities. So I say Whitehorse Council should ask them to change their name to “Whitehorse Convention Bureau” to reflect exactly where they conduct business and partially fund them.

Add a comment

In order to encourage thoughtful and responsible discussion, comments will not be visible until a moderator approves them. Please add comments judiciously and refrain from maligning any individual or institution. Read about our user comment and privacy policies.

Your full name and email address are required before your comment will be posted.

Commenting is not available in this section entry.

Comment preview