More downtown lighting, road upgrades and an improved Victoria Park band shell are just a few of the things the 2013 world figure skating championships could leave behind for Londoners.
About 80 per cent of the $4.1 million administrators want to spend in advance of the event would go toward improvements that pack a lasting punch.
Overall, the cash infusion is meant to “enhance the experience” and make London memorable for the upwards of 36,000 people expected to attend the championships, says the general manager of Tourism London.
“This event, with the exception of the Olympics, is the top skating event worldwide,” said John Winston. “This is a tourist attraction of the first order.”
The city already has budgeted $1.6 million of the $4.1 million for infrastructure improvements. But officials are far from getting the final OK for the full spending plan, which Winston helped create.
The city council’s community and neighbourhoods committee supported the spending in principal on Tuesday, and recommended that administrators present a prioritized list of projects to the services review committee. The community and neighbourhoods committee recommendation will be presented to the full council at Monday’s meeting.
If council approves passing the issue along to services review, members of that committee would need to make another recommendation, which council must approve before administrators move ahead.
Winston stresses that councillors could pick and choose from the list of project proposals. Some of the suggestions ‘ like a $1.2-million overhaul of Tourism London’s information centre on Wellington Road and $100,000 worth of signs pointing tourists toward highlighted venues ‘ are things that should be done with or without the skating event, he said.
The city’s way-finding signage is about 15 years old and does a “very poor” job telling people how to get from Point A to Point B, Winston said. And Tourism London’s headquarters haven’t been updated in 25 years, he added.
Other spending that would have a lasting impact includes: $300,000 for LED lighting on Dundas and King streets between Wellington Road and Tablot Street; $40,000 for 40 flagpoles to display world flags along Oxford Street near the airport; and $150,000 to improve sound and lighting on the Victoria Park stage, where medal ceremonies are planned.
One-time costs included in the proposal are: $600,000 for a sound and light show every night during the event; $50,000 for fireworks displays after medal ceremonies, $50,000 for a reception to welcome visitors and $20,000 for incidentals, like security.
• $22-$28 million: City’s expected direct and indirect economic benefit for hosting the world figure skating championships