City may focus on sports tourism longer to make Barrie ‘first’ stop

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“This plan will provide short-term recommendations for sports tournaments that Barrie should target based on the destination assessment,” says the adviser.

This city could soon engage in a sports tourism strategy.

Councilors in Barrie will consider a direct motion tonight to execute an agreement with the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev) to receive $110,000 in project funding in support of the Relief Fund to tourism to complement a sports tourism strategy.

“The Sport Tourism Strategic Plan is similar to the Tourism Master Plan, which will provide an assessment of Barrie’s current state of sport tourism infrastructure and resources,” Coun said. Gary Harvey, “and recommendations on how to build a sports tourism strategy based on the arenas and sports venues and organizations that Barrie now has.

“The sporting events we should attend align with our short-term strengths and what we need to do long-term to be a premier sport tourism destination in Ontario. »

Harvey says winter sports tournaments, from November to April, have an economic impact of $6.3 million in Barrie. It has six tournaments, most of them hockey, although there was also a club tournament.

“This plan will provide short-term recommendations for sports tournaments that Barrie should target based on the destination assessment,” said Ward 7 Councillor, “which is what Tourism Barrie needs to guide the best places to invest. the MAT and tourism resources.

The Municipal Lodging Tax (MAT) reserves a 4% levy on room rates at Barrie hotels, motels and AirBnBs, shared between Tourism Barrie and the city.

“The (sport tourism strategy) plan will give us an inventory of (the city’s) assets,” said Harvey, who is the council’s representative at Tourism Barrie. “That fits perfectly with the Sadlon Arena review.”

Last December, the council decided that the city would pay half the cost of an $85,000 consultant to assess the needs and opportunities for sports tourism growth at Sadlon Arena. This $42,500 came from the MAT reserve fund.

Last August, Barrie councilors also considered resizing the Sadlon Arena, approving a motion that city staff report to them before completing and submitting a grant application for the capital component of the Community Development Fund. of Ontario to expand the Bayview Drive facility.

This would be a three story addition to the north side of the building, including a new grand entrance to the arena with additional multi-purpose/commercial exhibition space, ticket offices, concessions, a multi-purpose sports bar, additional office and retail space. space, and possibly a new home for the Barrie Sports Hall of Fame. It could also include additional locker rooms, dining rooms and player lounges, medical facilities, storage and meeting space, a media lounge and VIP lounge, a new sound system, an improved green room as well as additional spectator seats to bring its total to around 5,000.

Harvey said Barrie hasn’t seen much sports tourism over the past decade, losing out to cities like Thunder Bay and North Bay for some big events, particularly curling. He said most events are worth between $6 million and $20 million on average to the local economy, sometimes more. These events can include not only curling, but also hockey and figure skating.

Harvey’s direct motion on a sports tourism strategy will be considered for final approval Monday evening by the city council.

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