Towns form­ing sport tourism al­liance

Bay Roberts, Har­bour Grace and Car­bon­ear aim to pool re­sources in ef­fort to at­tract sport­ing events

The Compass - - FRONT PAGE - BY TERRY ROBERTS

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.

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