July 15, 2015 - 12:00 PM
PENTICTON - Penticton Mayor Andrew Jakubeit is defending Sunday’s Granfondo bicycle race saying economic impacts outweigh complaints from residents and motorists in the region over traffic slowdowns.
A number of negative comments surfaced on social media regarding traffic disruptions following the Sunday, July 12 event. RCMP police spokesman Cpl. Don Wrigglesworth also noted police received a number of complaints related to traffic on Sunday.
Jakubeit noted not only 2,600 riders came to the city over the weekend, but their families too.
“It’s much bigger than a one-day event. The cyclists come here to train, so not only is the impact large for last weekend, there is also an impact at various times of the year,” Jakubeit says. He also noted cyclists form “packs” amongst themselves, talking up the race and the region to others.
Penticton’s Economic Development Officer, Colleen Pennington, says the event attracted more participants than last year, and more of those cyclists came from out of town. She said calculations using a tourism model for an event like Granfondo indicate at least $3 million in economic value to the city over the weekend, plus or minus 20 per cent.
“We’re comfortable that’s a reasonable, conservative assessment,” she says.
Pennington also sympathized with those who found themselves inconvenienced by the race.
“We’re asking ourselves how we might be more flexible with things like home rentals for that weekend, to perhaps allow those who don’t wish to be around, the opportunity to rent their house out while they explore another community. We need to see what we can do to improve communications with respect to which roads are affected and look at what we can do to provide options for people during these events,” she says.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015