Huntsville will host the Ironman triathlon for at least another year.
After much debate and several changes to the resolution, General Committee voted Wednesday to renew its contract with Trisport Events, the race’s organizer, for one year rather than the original three. The change comes at the suggestion of Karin Terziano, Mayor of Huntsville, that council should commit “in principle” to the next three years, but renew the contract on a year by year basis.
The decision was postponed by General Committee in September, with the two major issues being the 2021 race’s run route which saw Brunel fully closed from Veterans Way to North Mary Lake Road, and the date of the event.
A new run route was presented to council by Nick Stoehr, Trisport’s Race Director. The route is a modified version of 2019’s run route, which would head west from the Canada Summit Centre, bypassing the downtown core by way of Brunel Road, Veterans Way, and Lorne Street. The new route does not require a full road closure, unlike the contentious 2021 route, and would leave Main Street completely open, according to Stoehr.
The agreement also comes with the provision that the $25,000 in-kind contribution to the event would come from Huntsville’s portion of the provincial Municipal Accomodation Tax, rather from town coffers.
The other contentious issue of the race’s timing during the already-busy month of July, Stoehr said, cannot be changed as it would conflict with other Ironmans such as the one at Mont-Tremblant in late June.
While Veterans Way is expected to be under construction next July, according to Steve Hernen, Huntsville’s Director of Operations and Protective Services, there would likely be a gravel surface, which Stoehr said would not be a problem for the run.
With municipal elections coming up next fall, some councillors voiced concerns about the three-year commitment being a decision made on behalf of the incoming council. However, the current council will retain authority until August 19th of next year, according to Town Clerk Tanya Calleja.
The 2022 Ironman Muskoka 70.3 is expected to happen on July 10, and council will review 2022’s event at next July’s Regular Council meeting, to determine whether the contract would be renewed for another year.