When doling out more than $30 million in grant money for tourism events this year, the federal government left Whistler's Crankworx in the dust.
Just days before the annual mountain biking festival began this month, organizers learned that they would not be getting any grant money through the new federal Marquee Tourism Events Program.
"The letter from Industry Canada indicated that there was significant interest in the program and that due to the volume of requests, not all eligible projects could be funded," wrote Whistler Blackcomb's public relations and communications supervisor Tabetha Boot in an e-mail to Pique.
No one was available to speak to Pique on the funding issue this week in the wake of the very busy and successful Crankworx festival.
Boot said, however, that the decision was disappointing to event organizers even though they weren't counting on the funding to host a successful event.
"Had we received the funding, and learned of it in a timely manner, the incremental funds would have been spent on increased marketing resources to drive even more regional (Vancouver and Seattle) visitors to Whistler," wrote Boot.
The funds would have also gone towards increased prizing, launching the new event Deep Summer Photo Challenge and enhancing broadcast equipment.
Crankworx Events Inc. applied for the grant in the spring under the Tier 2 parameters which includes, among other things:
• minimum overall attendance of 50,000;
• minimum 10 per cent of attendants are tourists;
• minimum cash operating budget of $500,000
• and programming that lasts for at least three consecutive days.
"We thought Crankworx met all of the criteria to qualify for a Tier 2 event type and were quite excited by the opportunity," wrote Boot.
It is not clear how much money Crankworx was looking for from the program.
The Marquee Tourism Events Program promises $100 million over two years for tourism events across the country. In the first round released this summer, the bulk of the money has gone to events in Ontario and Quebec.
But even without the grant money to drive more visitors and enhance its programming, organizers are extremely pleased with Crankworx 2009.
Boot said: "While Crankworx did not receive the grant, we are thrilled with the outcome of the event. Through dedication and hard work, the many people involved pulled together to execute a very successful large scale, tourism-driving event."
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