I wanted to address VoP Councilor Leblancís concerns regarding the economic impact that Ironman Canada had to the community on race day due to the road closure.
Obviously some businesses had a direct impact, in much that they decided to close their doors for the day, i.e.: RONA, or had some significant revenue loss due to lack of access, i.e.: Esso. But to suggest that the business community suffered in the amount of $80,000 is an exaggeration. To also suggest that the golf courses lost $50,000 is highly improbable. I had the opportunity to work at one of those golf courses for several years, and there is no way it was bringing in $25,000 a day. Not even close. It was clearly stated that he took an unofficial poll, and Leblancís figures are a representation of that. A real poll with real figures would be much more representative of the day and might show a greatly reduced ďeconomic lossĒ.
I would like to take this opportunity to discuss economics. Pemberton has and will benefit greatly from Ironman Canada competing in the community. Every year these athletes will come to our community early in the summer to start their training, and when they are here they will spend money on groceries, accommodations and restaurants. Their family and supporters will be spending money as well. For those that feel most of this money will end up in Whistler, that could be true, but we will still benefit from that money.
A good portion of Pemberton is employed in Whistler. When Whistler is busy, that means these people get to work. They are put on the schedule because visitors are there spending money. When these workers cash their paycheques, they spend that money on groceries, restaurants, flower shops, drug stores, hair dressers, car maintenance, gas, etc. in Pemberton. So we benefit yet again.
We also have larger, additional benefits. Unlike the Olympics, Ironman Canada will happen every year. The event goes directly through our town. This event will be televised. So unlike the Olympics, where Pemberton made no mark or impact and received no recognition, we finally have that opportunity on an annual basis with Ironman. This is free marketing for this community; marketing in the form of tourism and perhaps even relocation. Who is to say that people would not start buying real estate in this community because of how we are presented to the world. When people come into this community to live or to visit we all benefit: we get to have a stable economy, our vacant retail spaces are filled and perhaps stay filled longer than six months which means people can have jobs locally. Perhaps we could have a sustainable economy.
This was the first year of this event, and I am sure the business community took notice, and strategies will be put in place so that they can better benefit next year.
This is the legacy that Councilor Leblanc was looking for from Ironman, he just has to open his eyes and see it.