Towns forming sport tourism alliance
Bay Roberts, Harbour Grace and Carbonear aim to pool resources in effort to attract sporting events
Three major municipalities in Conception Bay North are coming together to form a sport tourism alliance aimed at attracting more sporting events to the region.
Officials with Bay Roberts, Harbour Grace and Carbonear, in partnership with Mariner Resource Opportunities Network Inc., the regional economic development board, have created a memorandum of understanding that is being brought to the three municipal councils.
The Town of Bay Roberts endorsed the document during its regular public meeting on March 8.
“ This is a really good concept,” saiddeputy mayorPhilip Wood.
Wood was reassured by Ron Delaney, the town’s director of economic development and tourism, that any requests for funding must be approved by council.
Delaney and recreation director Ian Flynn travelled to Ottawa last year to discuss the concept with officials from the Canadian Sport Tourism Alliance (CSTA).
It’s believed the sporting and accommodations infrastructure in the region are not up to the standard to host national-level tournaments, but there is a market for exhibition games and training camps, Delaney explained.
“ With certain upgrades, we can collectively bid for events,” said Delaney, adding the entire region would benefit.
According to the CSTA website, sport tourism is the fastest growing segment of the tourism industry.
By working together, pooling resources and taking a regional approach, new opportunities can open, Delaney added. A CBN bid for a hockey event, for example, would promote the fact there are two arenas — the Bay Arena in Bay Roberts and the S.W. Moores Memorial Stadium in Harbour Grace — in the area. And there are three national class soccer pitches in the area, he added.
“ We need to send a message that we’re open for business,” said Delaney. “ We’re minuscule on the sporting map, but collectively we’re stronger.”
The towns of Harbour Grace and Carbonear have already demonstrated how such an arrangement can work. The two towns were recently named co-hosts of the 2012 provincial summer games.
Wood suggested that if such an agreement had already been in place, Bay Roberts could also have been a co-host for the games.
As part of the MOU, the towns will, among other things, work together to create a facility inventory, identify tournaments and training camps that could be hosted, create a bid package for events, and consult with the accommodations sector.
Delaney said the region has a long and successful history of sport, and events routinely attract strong fan and municipal support. He noted that recent and future facility upgrades and improvements to the accommodations sector are a step in the right direction.
Each town will have representation on the sport tourism alliance, Delaney explained.
Ron Delaney is the director of economic development and tourism with the Town of Bay Roberts.