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Can Huntsville handle the G-20? Or should it migrate south?

This has been stickin’ in my craw for a while now. How can a small town, with limited accommodation facilities, handle the throngs that are sure to descend on the bucolic town of Huntsville next summer?

I grew up not far from Huntsville so know the area very well. There are a few hotels and motels – in addition to the primo facility – Deerhurst – that the leaders and their entourages will be meeting and bedding down at during the summit. And that is fine and dandy, I guess. I mean, the organizers of this massive event (and yes, it will be the most massive happening ever seen near the shores of Lake Vernon) must have assessed the capacity of the town to handle of these extra folks who will be by for a spell, right?

But think about it. In addition to Obama, Sarkozy. Stevo, etc., the town can expect some of the following to come calling:

  • Aides and staff that don’t rate the stay at Deerhurst – 20 nations of them
  • Media from all over the world. CNN alone will probably send at least 20 or 30!
  • War protesters, seal protesters, tar sand protesters, Tamil rights protesters, anti-abortion protesters, pro-choice protesters, anti-gun protesters, NRA morons, anarchists, nihilists, communists, Quebec separatists… and maybe even Danny Williams
  • Gawkers and folks who are just a little interested in the goings-ons…
  • Regular tourist types who get way-laid at check points on Highway 11 on their way to Algonquin Park

There’s more:

  • What about the stress on the town’s drinking water and waste water treatment plants? Do they have the capacity to handle this – even for a few days?
  • What about emergency services? If Donnie has a heart attack at the Zellers, will he get an ambulance in time to save him? Will the emergency vehicles be thwarted by road closures?
  • How is everyone outside the resort going to find food? Sure, there are some nice burger spots, but we’re talking way more than the peak of the tourist season, folks.

And that’s all just off the top of my head.

Main point here: don’t at all be surprised if the geniuses who thought of Huntsville as the ideal town in a CPC riding to host this hootenanny to have some second thoughts. And don’t be surprised if the Summit planners quietly and incrementally begin to relocate this thing to a locale further to the south – like Barrie or Toronto. Some of the locals are already talking about this possibility and rumours are beginning to circulate at the local Timmies.

Stay tuned, and if it comes to pass, you heard it here first.


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  1. hmm, and now I must ascertain why my nose is bleeding.

  2. >>And what’s wrong with protesting if the cause is real and not an excuse to break shop windows?


    I just don’t believe that the vast majority of the protesters hooting and hollering at the G-whatever conferences are on about anything real. The core group want to do away with globalization – an interesting concept that would, in effect, break us up into a world of little tribes that fight with each other more than we do now.

    Many of these protesters are anti-everything, it seems. Many of them, from what I’ve seen in the past, are professional protesters who turn up wherever they can for the thrill of kicking up a ruckus. Some small number are instigators who WANT to get pepper sprayed or tasered in hopes of getting a picture in the paper and a lawsuit settlement.

    They want to protest here, instead of protesting in China, for example, because protesting in China carries actual risk to life and limb, rather than a risk of publicity and a life of luxury at taxpayer expense.

    I’m actually surprised they didn’t hold it there in May. If you want to annoy protesting yobbos outside, doing it in the middle of blackfly season would be awesome. That’s when I’d schedule it. Lets you get a dig in at the RCMP who have to be outside protecting too.

  3. trashee says:

    “into the area” means:

    – new water mains for Parry Sound – 70 km away from the summit
    – new public toilets for Baysville – 20 minutes away
    – arena improvements in Port Carling – 35 minutes away

    there is more…

    yes, there are benefits, but disguising them as “Summit-related” is misleading at best and pork-barreling at worst.

    And yes, S. Kor. is footing the entire bill for things DIRECTLY related to the Summit… but the indirect costs and the social/environmental costs will be borne by us and the locals.

  4. XUP says:

    Didn’t the feds already sink some $30 million in infrastructure into the area for the G8? The other 12 countries coming to the G20 are minor league compared to the big 8. Also South Korea is footing the entire bill for the G20 as the co-host country, so Huntsville could score lots of good stuff and will never be the same again as a cottage country destination.

  5. trashee says:

    The thing is that I don’t think there is enough in place to accommodate even just those folks – let alone the protesters and hangers-on.
    And what’s wrong with protesting if the cause is real and not an excuse to break shop windows? I’ve been in my share…

  6. I think that a big chunk of the idea is that the politicos and mainstream media are goign to have the clout to suck up all the accommodation near huntsville, thereby requiring the professional protesters and other miscreants and malcontents to have to commute a considerable (and hopefully expensive) distance.

    It’s a great idea really. Whether it will work in practice remains to be seen.

  7. trashee says:

    The blackflies would have a field day!

  8. Fat Arse says:

    You are absolutely right. The surrounding communities will not be able to sustain this event. Better it is moved now… to Kenora!

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