Does the City of Kelowna’s Ogopogo-themed community float, the Spirit of the Lake, help sell the city?
Six members of Kelowna council think so.
A $20,000 proposal to refurbish the float was added to the 2016 city budget Thursday after council debated its merit.
Mayor Colin Basran, and city councillors Brad Seiben and Tracy Gray both opposed elevating the request to the budget for next year and even the city manger chimed in, questioning the float’s relevance as a marketing tool.
But in the end, Ogopogo won out.
Despite a $50,000 upgrade in 2011 that included a new chassis and complete overhaul, city staff said there are some cities that may not let the float participate in their parades next year because it has not been refurbished in four years.
The float participates in approximately 15 to 20 parades annually within the Pacific Northwest and Alberta.
Staff said to keep the parade environment fresh, returning floats are requested to receive a makeover every three years. And they warned the float may be denied access into some of the larger parades in 2016 because it is dated.
But while most on council expressed support for the float and the work it does to advertise the city elsewhere, city manager Ron Mattiussi questioned its relevance in today’s more sophisticated marketing environment.
“There’s more to marketing a city than running a float down the road in Omak, Washington,” said Mattiussi.
He said Kelowna Tourism, which recently launched a slick video advertising campaign for the city, would likely not help fund the float if asked because the float does not fit in with its marketing approach.
But Gail Given was among others who suggested the float not only serves a purpose by appearing elsewhere but also is popular at local parades such as Rutland May Days.
The extra money is needed for the float because some of its components and features are deteriorating and are in need of replacement.