London city council passes on bid for 2020 International Plowing Match — again
The third time wasn’t the charm for one city councillor hoping to bring the International Plowing Match to London in 2020.
The strategic priorities and policy committee voted 10-1 on Monday to take no action on Ward 2 Coun. Bill Armstrong’s motion to bid for the 2020 event.
Armstrong latest attempt to convince his council colleagues to bid for the event came hours after London learned it would host the 2019 Juno Awards, the biggest entertainment event in Canada.
Armstrong argued Monday that the plowing match would have a greater economic benefit to London than the Junos.
“I went on the internet quickly, the economic spinoff is $9 million for that week. The economic spinoff for the plowing match is $25 million.”
It’s not the first time Armstrong has argued the economic spinoff would be that high. In December, Armstrong said it would be as high as $30 million after the Seaforth Huron Expositor reported this past March the 2016 IPM had an economic impact totalling $29 million.
A staff report from December said the Ontario Plowmen’s Association has done economic studies but they couldn’t be shared at this time. The report warned a successful bid would require up to 200 city staff and 9,000 hours of work. It would have also meant London would need to fund a start-up grant of $100,000, which could be lost if the event fails to turn a profit, plus discretionary funds that would could range between $150,000 and $550,000.
The arrival of the Junos in 2019 has created a buzz in London, similar to the Canadian Country Music Awards in 2016.
Despite council’s reluctance, Armstrong believes the plowing match has unprecedented support in London.
“There’s never been a proposal put before this council that I can remember that had so much support from the community,” he said.
In December Armstrong submitted a list of 25 letters of support from the community backing his push to have London host the event in 2020.
This year’s event will be held in Pain Court, Chatham-Kent from Sept. 18 to 22.
© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.