Tour of Alberta fundraising hits bump

Local Tour of Alberta organizers hit a bump in the fundraising road but the race will go on.

Local Tour of Alberta organizers hit a bump in the fundraising road but the race will go on.

It was hoped that $200,000 in donations could be raised from the four communities on the Stage 2 circuit, but the local organizing committee found out this week they will come up $60,000 short.

City of Red Deer came through with $100,000, and Innisfail donated $20,000.

However, on Monday Sylvan Lake town council, which had been asked for $30,000, did not approve anything after a motion to provide $10,000 was narrowly defeated.

On Tuesday, Red Deer County council approved $20,000, but it had been asked for $50,000.

All of the communities have agreed to thousands of in-kind donations, such as setting up road blocks, cleaning streets and other measures necessary for a safe race.

Red Deer organizing committee chairman George Berry said he expects to make up most of the shortfall with additional corporate donations, which were already pencilled in for $85,000 of the total $285,000 budget, which includes $250,000 in race fees plus a $35,000 local marketing budget.

Berry admits organizers were disappointed with results in Sylvan Lake and Red Deer County.

“We would have hoped that they saw the economic value of this more than they apparently have.”

Berry understands they were also competing with other financial asks such as the 2019 Canada Winter Games bid.

Repeating last year’s successful race has been a financial challenge this year.

The province cut its $3.2 million investment in half, leaving organizers to generate more in local communities.

Last year, less than $100,000 was needed from local groups, three-quarters of which came from the City of Red Deer.

In Red Deer County, Coun. Christine Moore initially proposed a $10,000 donation, up from the $2,000 the county provided for last year’s inaugural event.

“This gives great exposure for Red Deer County,” she said.

“We will be conspicuous by our absence if we’re not there.”

Mayor Jim Wood suggested boosting funding to $20,000.

“I see huge benefits to this particular Tour of Alberta coming through,” he said. “We’re trying to promote this area. This does definitely benefit our entire community.”

Not all councillors were convinced.

Coun. Don Church said he didn’t believe the event provided enough economic benefit for the county.

The donation passed by a 4-3 vote with Church and Councillors Richard Lorenz and Philip Massier opposed.

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