Dale Hicks, organizer of Atlanticade, wants everyone of P.E.I. to know that Atlanticade benefits more than just Summerside.
Hicks’s event is coming off what he terms as another successful year in 2014. He noted that there were about 3,000 participants (85 per cent of them from outside of the Summerside area). The Atlanticade chief said that number is about in line with numbers from 2012 and up from last year when poor weather was blamed for keeping some people away.
With three moderately successful events under his belt, Hicks now says the challenge is reaching an agreement to keep the international motorcycle event in Summerside. The three-year contract between Atlanticade and the City of Summerside ended this year. Hicks has been pleased with the partnership that has developed between the city and the event, but if it is going to continue with any measure of success other resources and partners need to be found to keep Atlanticade on the Island.
Organizers are hoping to renew the deal with the city, but also want the province to jump on board and are also hoping to get more corporate sponsorship involved.
We see their point.
With off-Island participation pegged at about 65 per cent, and a provincial government that is prone to spending on events aimed at bringing tourists across the bridge and boat, why wouldn’t the province partner with this group? Atlanticade has been here for three years so it does have a history (although brief) that would suggest it is legitimate.
While we would argue that to some degree events such as this, and the multiple others across the Island, ought to be self-sufficient, history tells us otherwise and necessity suggests we need them.
So it comes down to taxpayers’ money to subsidize. We don’t like it but without it what would we have here? Not much to put it bluntly. There would be no harness racing, no big concerts and celebrations, no small halls music; you get the point. We need to support the events that prove to be worth the return. With the province’s history of doing so and an estimated annual economic impact of between $1 to $2 million, much of which goes to businesses and communities outside of Summerside, we suggest Atlanticade is worth the support of the province – at least on a short term agreement.
The fact is participants come from all over and while Atlanticade still has lots of room to grow and improve it is at least an event that can grow and improve and these two-wheeled visitors can be seen from tip-to-tip before, during and after Atlanticade weekend.