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Windsor, Ontario, to Create “Sports Tourism Czar”

2 Dec, 2015

By: Tracey Schelmetic

Sports commissioner? Think of a term with a more international flavor when it comes to Canada.

The City of Windsor, Ontario recently voted to hire a Sports Tourism Czar to concentrate on attracting more events and tourist dollars to the city.

Windsor’s city council voted in early November by a margin of 7-4 to create the position, a move pushed by mayor Drew Dilkens. The position will cost the city about $120,000 (CAN) per year, with an additional $200,000 allotted for bidding and hosting fees for future events. The job, which the city hopes to fill in the near future, will be based out of the mayor’s office. The Sports Tourism Czar will be responsible for preparing and submitting bids, assessing and presenting economic benefits, assisting with hosting and coordinating with city services for successful bids, maintaining a database of volunteers, and developing event marketing strategies.

 “This is good for the city,” Dilkens said the contentious vote. “We want someone who can hit the ground running and who can go out and bring business back to the community.”

Craig Pearson of the Windsor Star reported that the City of Windsor does not plan on raising taxes to support the position in the near future since the money for next year was already in the budget, and this money includes sports tourism capital costs. The mayor’s office reportedly plans to begin drafting a job posting for the position immediately.

City council members who voted against the creation of the Sports Tourism Czar position say the city should not be committing so much money for a sports tourism officer without first auditing the nearly $6 million the city has already spent on five sports tourism events: Skate Canada International, International Children’s Games, FINA diving and swimming championships, and CARHA hockey. These dissenting council members voted recently to hire a local auditor general for a cost of $286,000. That move was defeated in voting by the full council.

According to news source the Windsorite, Councilor Irek Kusmierczyk felt the money could be better used to repair sports facilities that city residents use, such as basketball courts in Forest Glade.

The Windsor Star’s editorial desk is also not fans of the plan to create the new position.

“Now Windsor has decided to make the promotion of sports a full-time job for one lucky soul, who will be gifted an office, a full time paycheck, a pension, and generous government benefits for doing so,” wrote the editors. “But the budget allocated by the previous council was intended to hire temporary promoters on contract, with the remainder of the funding banked until required. Now the money will be spent automatically, whether or not there are events worth chasing or promoting. As any healthy skeptic can tell you, the cost of government functions always goes up, and the footprint of the effort usually grows.”

Councilors voted to review the success of the position and its  accomplishments in three years.

Windsor is Canada’s southernmost city and lies across the Detroit River from Detroit, Michigan. The city has a population of 276,165. The city hosts Caesars Windsor, one of the largest casinos in Canada, which attracts visitors both from Canada and the U.S. 

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