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Three Wheat City events get stamp of approval

Chad Stiles (left) and Alistair Hagan of the Manitoba Rodeo Cowboys Association speak to council Monday regarding their accommodation tax funding request for the Wheat City Stampede.

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Chad Stiles (left) and Alistair Hagan of the Manitoba Rodeo Cowboys Association speak to council Monday regarding their accommodation tax funding request for the Wheat City Stampede. (JILLIAN AUSTIN/BRANDON SUN)

Three more events have been approved for grants through the city’s accommodation tax reserve.

The Manitoba Rodeo Cowboys Association will be provided with a grant of $21,000 for hosting the Wheat City Stampede Oct. 24-27, 2013.

"When you look at the impact that that event has on Brandon, with roughly 1,000 room nights generated during a typically slow time of year, it’s really important to be able to have the financial means to put forward a grant," said Sandy Trudel, the city’s economic development director.

"This event, not only does it generate room nights, but it really brings together a lot of the ag partners which are such an important part the rural area that surrounds Brandon and ultimately drives the economic engine at the Keystone Centre."

The Wheat City Stampede has been hosted in Brandon annually since 2004. The association applied for funding under the category of event retention with the goal of creating sustainable funding.

Council also approved a grant of $7,500 for the Westman Softball Umpires Association for the 2013 Super Softball Weekend to be held July 19-21.

The event, which is expected to draw 150 participants, 100 volunteers and roughly 350 spectators, has never been held in Brandon.

"One of the key goals of the accommodation tax bylaw when it was brought in was to generate new room nights in the city," Trudel said. "So this is showing that indeed is working. The (WSUA) has the added benefit of also contributing funds back in to further the sport, which is obviously a good thing and it opens up the door for future events."

The event is estimating the generation of approximately 236 overnight stays.

A grant of $4,000 was also approved for the Senior Women’s Academic Administrators of Canada national conference, which was held at Brandon University May 2-4.

"The (event) was quite a coup, when you consider the fact that the event has never been held outside of Toronto, Montreal or Vancouver before," Trudel said. "So for us to be able to bring it here in Brandon really speaks to the power of our local people to be able to be those champions that attract and host events. BU is a real integral partner in the event potential in this city, and it was great being able to see them bring such an impressive group of individuals to the community."

The event attracts senior women leadership in academia from across the country and offered special guest speakers including Karen de Young, a senior national security correspondent and an associate editor of the Washington Post. Also in attendance was Amanda Lindhout, a kidnap survivor and founder of the Global Enrichment Foundation. The event was expected to generate approximately 150 room nights.

The city’s accommodation tax, which adds roughly $3 per hotel room charge, was launched last July. The goal is to provide grants for tourism initiatives, particularly for attracting or keeping events in Brandon. In its first six months, the new tax brought in more than $384,000. So far in the first quarter of 2013, the city has received $167,000, however not all receipts are in.

Other events that have benefited from the accommodations tax reserve are Hockey Brandon’s Tournament of Champions ($25,000) and the Wheat City Lions Club for its mid-winter convention ($5,000).

Trudel said she is pleased to see the applications starting to roll in.

"We’ve moved now from … that implementation stage to folks are now beginning to understand the tool that the accommodation tax really is, because it truly is functioning as an incentive," she said. "We have Brandon First, who are proactively messaging that out, we’ve created brochures that promote the tax as a tool for event organizers, so now we’re beginning to see the rewards of that."

Trudel said they are expecting to see a handful of other applications coming to the department very soon.

"Ideally, we would love to get to the situation whereby there’s an accommodation tax grant request at every council meeting," she said.

» jaustin@brandonsun.com

Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition May 7, 2013

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Three more events have been approved for grants through the city’s accommodation tax reserve.

The Manitoba Rodeo Cowboys Association will be provided with a grant of $21,000 for hosting the Wheat City Stampede Oct. 24-27, 2013.

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Three more events have been approved for grants through the city’s accommodation tax reserve.

The Manitoba Rodeo Cowboys Association will be provided with a grant of $21,000 for hosting the Wheat City Stampede Oct. 24-27, 2013.

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