With the best women hockey players in the world coming to town for the Clarkson Cup, Jennifer Robinson has no doubt the city will earn dividends from its investment of $15,000.
“The spin off of all of these national and international visitors coming and experiencing what our city has to offer is substantial. For the days that the teams, coaches, managers, fans, families and players are here, they will be dining in our restaurants, shopping in our city and checking out all the amazing sites that Barrie has to offer. The tourism that can be brought from this is tremendous.”
As much as the economic impact, national media coverage of the tournament will give Barrie a platform from which to broadcast the merits of the city, says Robinson, Ward 8 councillor.
The return on investment is significant, she says, adding the “complete package” costs of TSN coverage for such an event is $45,000. Coverage will include a profile of the community and a prime spot on the rink boards, advertising the city.
The Canadian Women’s Hockey League (CWHL), organizers of the tournament scheduled for March 24-27 at the Barrie Molson Centre, had originally requested $25,000 from the City – $15,000 in cash and free use of the centre, which rings in at $10,000. Staff recommended a special $20,000 one-time grant; committee eventually settled on $5,000 and free use of the centre, for a total of $15,000.
The decision to provide financial support was not unanimous. Ward 6 Coun. Michael Prowse was opposed, not because he didn’t support the tournament coming to Barrie, but because he felt financial support was not needed.
“The event (is) happening here anyway, with or without our tax dollars. It does not make sense to me to provide an incentive with tax dollars for something that is going to occur anyway.”
Additional benefits to the city include advertisement in the tournament program and on the CWHL’s website, says Robinson, who clearly feels the investment is a good one.
“These women are vying for their Stanley Cup and reviving that intensity of the U.S. versus Canada experience right here at the BMC.”
A staff report maintained that the overall economic benefit to the City is in the range of $315,000. To those who claimed the City didn’t need to support the event, Mayor Jeff Lehman said the City spends money on other events that aren’t ‘required,’ such as the $25,000-$30,000 spent on the annual Canada Day fireworks display.
Council will vote on Monday to endorse committee’s decision. There was no meeting last Monday, as it was Family Day.
For additional information on the tournament, its origins and teams, read this City Scene Barrie story.