The City of Victoria will be providing up to $70,000 as its contribution to the 2019 IIHF World Junior Hockey Championships.
While council sitting as committee of the whole voted Oct. 26 to ask the event organizing committee to seek funding from the CRD and other municipalities, council later decided that the City would cover the entire amount.
City staff had recommended allocating $50,000 to the event, with another $20,000 designated for public activities and programming related to the tournament, which is being hosted primarily in Vancouver. Tourism Victoria, and the Downtown Victoria Business Association are contributing $130,000 and $20,000 respectively.
“This event will be exciting. It will be of benefit to the players, coaches, staff, others associated with the teams. It will be a benefit internationally to people who like hockey, it will certainly be a benefit to the hotel sector,” Coun. Ben Isitt said during the committee meeting.
“I think though, the strongest benefit locally is to the hotel sector and the tourism sector and I think a greater proportion of the funds should be flowing from Tourism Victoria’s budget.”
Mayor Lisa Helps responded that although there are economic benefits for those sectors, the event also benefits residents.
“There are lots of young people in this town who will be very inspired, there’s an opportunity for community engagement, there’s an opportunity for civic pride,” she said. “This is a really big event, it was really big to land this, and I think the contribution is modest for the return that we’re going to see.”
Coun. Charlayne Thornton-Joe asked whether the CRD would contribute funds, since people from across the region will likely attend and benefit from the programming the City will pay for.
Isitt asked whether the City could allocate a portion of its community use ice time at Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre, as a way of reducing the cash contribution. A substantial portion of that ice time has gone unused in years past, he added. “The City spent $33 million on the Memorial Arena replacement, and one of the small benefits we get is 150 hours of ice time.”
The decision not to pursue other funding in the region followed further discussion of the matter at the evening council meeting.