Canadian Finals Rodeo is worth another $50,000, Red Deer city council decides

Red Deer city council follows the county in investing in the annual rodeo

The Canadian Finals Rodeo is a big financial boon for Red Deer during a tough time, and is worth a $50,000 investment, most city councillors decided Monday.

In a seven-to-one vote, council approved a request from Westerner Park to provide half of a $100,000 sponsorship for the rodeo that’s returning to Red Deer for a second year this fall.

The CFR’s inaugural run in the city in 2018 added from $20 million to $25 million to the local economy through restaurant meals, hotel stays and shopping, said Tara Lodewyk, the city’s planning services director.

She predicted the CFR will continue to fuel the local economy by this amount for however many years it returns to the city.

Council heard a five-year contract was signed by the CFR, Westerner Park and the Red Deer & District Chamber of Commerce in 2018, with an option to renew it for another five years after that.

Lodewyk recommended supporting the CFR‘s sponsorship request, which allows the city to advertise itself with banners and signs during the rodeo. Lodewyk noted the event fits with the city’s strategic plan to market Red Deer as a sports tourism centre and diversify the economy.

Red Deer County council already approved giving the CFR the other $50,000. But some county councillors had balked at being asked again for what they thought was a one-time funding request. And the same concern arose in Red Deer city council.

Coun. Vesna Higham questioned whether that kind of money should be given to the CFR at a time when the city is already pressed to keep taxes down while maintaining services during a time of declining revenues.

While the CFR generates a lot of business, it has an agreement to return to here regardless of whether the city sponsors it, said Higham.

She expressed concerns about creating a precedent with other groups. Beyond that, Higham said her opposition to the funding request “is a point of principle. I don’t remember (the request) being presented as a one-time request on an on-going basis last year.”

But others on council felt it could take the sports event a few years to become fiscally solvent. This was confirmed by Lodewyk, who told council the CFR lost money in its first year, but organizers have learned what to do to turn a future profit.

The CFR partners indicated they would need sponsorships for the first three years, then be on more stable economic footing, said Mayor Tara Veer.

Coun. Michael Dawe urged support for the CFR, since there are “escape clauses” in the agreement that would allow it to pull out of the city if staying in Red Deer meant sustaining repeated financial losses.

Coun. Lawrence Lee and most others on council saw the popular event as an opportunity to showcase Red Deer to visitors and to help local businesses.

“It’s an investment for the whole community,” added Coun. Ken Johnston.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Trial: Red Deer RCMP officer accused of asking prisoner to lift up her top

A woman who has accused a Red Deer RCMP officer of urging… Continue reading

Former principals, staff and students celebrate 50 years of Westpark Middle School

In the mid-1970s, Paul Gowans became principal at Westpark Middle School, and… Continue reading

Central Alberta MPs seek stiffer punishment for rural crimes

Bill C-458 was tabled Friday, and proposes to amend the Criminal Code to account for rural residents

Trans Mountain pipeline expansion gets second green light from Ottawa

OTTAWA — The federal Liberal government is giving the Trans Mountain pipeline… Continue reading

WATCH: New RDC president has three decades of experience working at colleges and universities

Peter Nunoda says he’s ‘excited’ to help transition the college into a university

Sexting teens at risk of harms including depression, substance use: study

Sexting by youth between the ages of 12 and 17 is linked… Continue reading

R.J. Barrett, expected to go third overall, is Canadian headliner at NBA Draft

On the heels of the Toronto Raptors winning the NBA championship for… Continue reading

Canada’s Christine Sinclair mingles with Dutch fans ahead of World Cup showdown

REIMS, France — Wandering around Reims on an off-day, Canada captain Christine… Continue reading

Sharks re-signing Karlsson sets table for busy NHL off-season

Erik Karlsson had no wanderlust to test the free agent market before… Continue reading

Blair says more gun-control action needed, signals no new steps before election

OTTAWA — Crime Reduction Minister Bill Blair says more must be done… Continue reading

Pricey tours of decaying Titanic shipwreck delayed until June 2020

ST. JOHN’S, N.L. — Adventure tourists who paid $168,000 each to help… Continue reading

Police searching for suspect after shooting at Toronto Raptors rally

Toronto police are still looking for a suspect after Monday’s shooting that… Continue reading

The corporate winners and losers from the Toronto Raptors’ historic win

We The North mania spread across Canada as the Toronto Raptors created… Continue reading

Most Read