It hasn’t said it wants to host the Ironman Canada contest, but Kelowna is looking at the possibility.
The city’s director of parks and recreational services, Jim Gabriel, said Friday the city is reviewing a Request For Proposals issued by Florida-based World Triathlon Corporation, which owns the rights to the race that called Penticton home for 30 years.
It was announced last month that this year marked the final Ironman Canada competition in the Peach City.
Gabriel said he has heard that Vernon, Whistler, Kamloops and Victoria are also interested in possibly hosting the Ironman competition and are also looking at what that would entail for their communities.
“Right now we are trying to understand what the RFP would require here,” said Gabriel. “We are going through it, trying to understand what they are looking for.”
He said while the staging of the swim and run components would not be difficult here, the cycling component would be a challenge because of Kelowna’s location in the Valley. In Penticton, the cycling route took riders deep into the south Okanagan and over some mountain passes.
Another challenge would be the large number of volunteers required to help stage the event.
Gabriel said timing will also be an issue as the city does not want to do anything that would adversely affect the existing Apple Triathlon, which has been held here for 31 years. Traditionally, the Apple Triathlon has been run the week before the Ironman Canada event in Penticton.
“It is not our intention to do anything that would hurt the Apple (Tritathlon),” said Gabriel.
Another issue is the cost to the city.
Gabriel said it is his understanding that the Ironman event held in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho each year costs that community $75,000 cash and $50,000 in in-kind associated costs.
Calling the review of the RFP “due diligence,” Gabriel said part of the work will involve a “high level” phone survey in the city to gauge public support and participation in the Ironman event if it was to be held in here. The results of that survey will be known by the time the city wraps up its work studying the RFP.
The closing date for the RFP is Sept. 24.