Construction projects cost city chance to host convention

The city applied to host the Association of Vancouver Island and Coastal Communities convention

The city’s bid to host one of the largest conventions staged annually across coastal B.C. has been denied.

The city applied to host the Association of Vancouver Island and Coastal Communities convention (AVICC) in either 2015 or 2016 but was turned down in a letter dated Feb. 4.

Joe Stanhope, chair of the AVICC, said the upcoming hospital project and John Hart Dam Generating Station upgrade made Campbell River undesirable.

“Each year we learn new lessons in organizing conventions,” Stanhope wrote. “A most recent lesson relates to the importance of the availability of suitable accommodation in reasonable proximity to the convention venue for delegates, speakers and sponsors.

“As we understand that your community is undertaking two major construction projects that could potentially affect the availability of sufficient hotel room stock for convention requirements, we have chosen to take advantage of other community’s offers for 2015 and 2016.”

As a consolation prize, the city has been invited to host the convention in either 2017 or a subsequent year – an offer that councillors accepted at Tuesday night’s council meeting.

AVICC involves 51 local governments and as a host city, Campbell River would be responsible for accommodating up to 250-275 delegates.

The city was offering to hold the convention in both the Community Centre and the Sportsplex.

In November, when council agreed to apply to be a host city, Coun. Ryan Mennie brought up the issue of over crowding.

“At the same time, I think is a fantastic idea (but) I hate to think of the logistics of 2015 or 2016 and the Hydro project and the new hospital project will be well underway,” Mennie said.

Coun. Claire Moglove, a director-at-large for AVICC, said she didn’t expect it would be a problem.

“It would require three nights accommodation in April,” Moglove said. “We will have the space available albeit we will be very busy with those other projects going on.”

But that was evidently not enough for the AVICC, which encouraged the city to play host in a future year.

“We are confident that you will understand our decision and hope that you will consider our request when it arrives,” Stanhope said.