Leon Leclair at IPM 2018 sponsors information night. February 28, 2018. (Photo by Sarah Cowan Blackburn News Chatham-Kent).

IPM Committee Making Sure Dollars Are Well Spent

Chatham-Kent is putting its dollars on the table to make sure the upcoming International Plowing Match and Rural Expo gets the exposure it needs and shows what the municipality has to offer.

A report is coming to Monday night’s council meeting detailing additional costs that are expected for the IPM, which will run in Pain Court from September 18-22. It is recommended that council approves the following expenses:

1. The estimated cost of $137,560 for fire, medical response, water, police and certain infrastructure costs be submitted to the committee as event costs.
2. The estimated one-time cost of $200,000 for the showcase tent be funded through the Strategic Development Reserve.
3. The estimated one-time cost of $15,000 for promotion and marketing of Chatham-Kent,
use of municipal facilities, and a software license be funded through the Strategic Development Reserve.

Administration is also asked to prepare a report for the April or May council meeting to provide an update on the status of the municipality’s work towards the IPM.

Co-chair Leon Leclair says staff are being transparent about the costs of the event.

“The emergency services and fire cost will be borne by the local IPM. That is to be paid from the profits that we make,” explains Leclair. “Before we give it out to the community to the various charities, we need to pay for fire services and the ambulance care.”

Leclair says every year in every plowing match, the local community has a showcase tent to advertise itself. He says the local committee doesn’t generate that cost though.

“The $200,000 tent–that’s a cost that the municipality feels they need to have a presence at the IPM. That’s nothing to do with the local IPM, that is direction from administration,” he says.

Leclair says many communities end up spending a lot more on their tents, so $200,000 is less than past years.

According to the municipality’s report, the showcase tent is being themed to concentrate on the many unique offerings of each of the communities that make-up Chatham-Kent. It is said there will be an emphasis on tourism and economic development, focusing on black history, angling, heritage, culture, as well as local food producers, craft breweries, and wineries.

Up to 80,000 visitors are expected to come to Chatham-Kent this fall for the event, according to Leclair. He says the marketing dollars are to make sure this year’s IPM is advertised well to attract as many people as possible.

“We want them to come to the plowing match first of all, but second of all, we want them to know what is offered in Chatham-Kent–so that they’re here for the plowing; however, they’re going to visit other venues like restaurants and they’re going to stay at various hotels,” says Leclair. “We have a lot of water around us, maybe they’ll enjoy some fishing or camping.”

According to Leclair, the municipality previously offered a $100,000 loan to the committee, but only $60,000 has been used so far and the rest is not needed anymore. He says another $100,000 was originally budgeted for Allison Terfloth‘s position as 2018 IPM coordinator, but now that she is only needed for about eight months instead of two years, money should be saved there as well.

Leclair adds that the sponsorship committee has been working hard to make sure every dollar from sponsors for the event goes to the community when the event is over.