A Penticton hotelier is the latest to weigh in on the issue of Penticton city council sending seven delegates to the Union of British Columbia Municipalities convention in Vancouver.
David Prystay is general manager of the Penticton Lakeside Resort, and his family also owns and operates the Best Western Sands Hotel at the corner of Denman and Davie in Vancouver.
He supports the idea of a large Penticton delegation at the UBCM convention but believes far more affordable accommodations are available than the rooms booked by the city.
Six of Penticton's city council members, plus CEO Annette Antoniak, are attending the major conference. They are staying at the Pan Pacific Hotel, where rooms average $275 per night. Coun. John Vassilaki, the lone council member to stay home, estimates the trip will cost between $2,000 and $2,500 per delegate.
By comparison, Oliver sent only its mayor (with two others attending only specific sessions), Osoyoos sent three delegates and Kelowna sent five delegates.
"I love the Pan (Pacific). It's a beautiful hotel, but it's a place you should go if you have a balanced municipal budget," Prystay said in an interview.
He notes his family's hotel offers group rates at $135 at this time of year, and that a cab ride to the convention centre costs less than $12. Not wanting to plug his own hotel, Prystay said other affordable options can be found for accommodations in Vancouver.
"If it's $135 per night versus about $300, I'd probably recommend you go with $135 where you can get the $12 breakfast versus an $18 breakfast. A cab ride costs $10 to $12, and there's public transportation that stops right outside the Sands Hotel and the convention centre, or they could walk and get a little healthier while down in Vancouver."
Prystay, a 20-year veteran of the industry, said many conventions insist on double occupancy per room for their delegates. Prystay noted that the daughter of former Penticton mayor Mike Pearce worked at the Sands while attending university and the new manager in Vancouver is former Pentictonite Dallas Worthington.
Although it was suggested by Vassilaki that the delegation should be no larger than three, Prystay supports the idea of a large delegation.
"It's beneficial in order to network and to plan strategy to deal with the provincial government for funding, and to get ideas from other municipalities as to what they're doing right, what they're doing wrong," he said.
"There are just more affordable options available."