The curling tournament is supported by city councilors

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City Councilors are supporting the organization of a curling tournament at the Wayne Gretzky Sports Center, provided the event is broadcast by CBC.

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The 2021 Brantford Mixed Doubles Curling Classic will take place December 9-12. Over the course of the four days, 32 teams will compete against each other.

The event will provide Olympic Trials spots for Canada’s top two teams, who will advance to the Canad Inns Canadian Mixed Doubles Trials in January in Manitoba, which will decide who will represent Canada at the Winter Olympics in 2022 in Beijing.

The Brantford event is expected to draw teams from Canada, China, Japan, South Korea, Sweden, Switzerland, Australia and Scotland.

Event organizer Jay Allen, a Brantford resident of Epsilon Productions, called on the city to waive the nine-day ice rental fee for a skating rink at the Gretzky Center in order to install, organize the tournament and disassemble. Allen also asked the city to sponsor the event for $ 1,500 per year (2021-2024) for the next Olympic race.

A report from city staff said the lost cost of renting the rink, as well as the costs of setting up, taking down and additional staff at the Gretzky Center for the tournament amount to $ 60,000.

The report says local sports organizations will be displaced by the tournament, including the Brantford Minor Hockey Association, the Brantford Girls Hockey Association, local high school hockey programs, the Brantford 99ers Hockey Club Jr. A, adult tenants and residents. users of hiking trails. Revenues from these rentals are estimated to be approximately $ 20,000.

Brian Hughes, director of Brantford Parks Services, said tournament organizers typically pay the arena usage fee and all associated costs, including cleaning.

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“Jay has worked a lot on this,” said Mayor Kevin Davis. “But it’s a big request.”

The mayor said he was concerned about the precedent the deal would set, noting that there are other worthy groups using the city’s facilities.

Allen, who has run curling events for years, said the tournament brings “the world’s best curlers to Brantford.”

He said he is currently in negotiations with CBC to broadcast the event online on December 9 and 10 and for national broadcasts on December 11 and 12. But Allen said he has yet to get a written commitment from the broadcaster and “should know in the next few weeks.

Allen said the CBC cover would promote the city with images of local sites and the city’s logo would be prominently featured in the arena and would be seen often by viewers.

Allen disputed some of the costs predicted in the city staff report, including a cost of $ 10,500 to remove and replace the glass and remove the net in the Gretzky center for the curling tournament.

Hughes said specialized equipment is needed to remove the glass and net, and city staff may not be trained to perform some of the tasks required.

“Organizing an event of this magnitude requires additional resources,” said Hughes. “We like to organize special events, but there are costs. “

City staff estimate that the economic impact of 70 athletes and 10 production staff spending the night in Brantford would add approximately $ 29,000 to local hotels and restaurants.

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“I don’t know where these numbers came from,” Allen said, calling the estimate low.

Com. John Sless urged his fellow councilors to support the curling event.

“It’s not a tournament, it’s a qualification for the Olympics,” he said.

“It’s big, big stuff. There are international teams that come with an entourage. National exposure is a very big part.

“After going through COVID, we can fill hotels and restaurants for a week. It is not direct money for the city, but these people pay taxes to the city. There is much more to this than dollars and cents. It is not an expense but an investment in the promotion of our city.

The Council’s community development committee has recommended that the city cover expenses of up to $ 60,000 for the tournament, subject to written confirmation of CBC coverage of the event. The matter must be approved at a future council meeting.

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