Muskoka Grapevine: The saga of the Huntsville Ironman triathlon route continues into 2020

Updated: Feb 13, 2020

Muskoka Ironman triathletes participate in run segment of the event along Main Street in Huntsville.

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Muskoka Post Staff

Last year the Ironman triathlon elicited some criticism and hi lighted issues from traffic concerns to loss of revenue from both Huntsville residents and business owners along Main Street. A number of businesses surveyed following the 2019 event revealed that for many store owners sales were slower in comparison to the previous year during the same summer weekend. It seemed that restaurants in the town's downtown core faired better in the revenue department than their retail counter parts. Huntsville council and staff were made aware in August 2019 of the complaints and concerns.

In an interview with Agatha Farmer shortly after the event Grapevine owner Catherine Cole said that while it was not busy at her store and her sales were half of what she made in the previous year on the same day, she also acknowledged that “there is always going to be events that people are going to do really well with and others not so much.”

In 2019 the triathlon route went through downtown Huntsville and Baysville, starting and ending at the Canada Summit Centre. The run part of the course took athletes through Main Street in the direction of Aspdin Road, with a turnaround at Old Muskoka Road.

The bike course had participants exit onto Brunel Road in the direction of Highway 117 toward Baysville, with a turn around approximately 20 kilometres past Baysville on Highway 117.

Fast forward to winter 2020 and Huntsville resident Ruby Truax's post in the Huntsville Voice facebook page on Feb. 12 seems to indicate residents are still unhappy about not having a say in the Ironman route.

Ruby Truax posted:

"Last month, Town Council approved a new route for the 2020 Ironman Triathlon on July 12th which would close Brunel Road completely from West Browns Road to the Summit Centre. This means that hundreds of residents won't be able to leave their homes for over six hours, from 7 am until after 1 pm. This decision has many people upset, particularly because it was made without informing the public, without consulting the residents, businesses and churches on Brunel Road that will be affected. So the Town is holding public meetings next Thursday (February 20th) to answer questions and get feedback about this decision. The meetings will take place at the Active Living Centre (20 Park Drive) from 1 to 3 pm and from 6 to 8 pm. Everyone is welcome."

The feedback to Truax's post from Huntsville residents was quick.

Chris Wagland: "Good!! The most stupid council decision so far! No consultation? Sounds like they knew it wouldn’t pass the residents! Then comes the question of compensation and who will pay for it. Remember the water slide? Happened once, for a reason!!"

Sherry Searle: "Yes would be interested to see what they have to say after the decision has been made. Sorry for your luck for being a resident out there. I get the impact it is going to have but I can't feel like a prisoner."

Ruby Truax: So what are you planning to do, Sherry? You're right in the middle of the closure.

Sherry Searle: "Well if I have no say I may go out before 7 ... However will not be happy about it ... and to think we pay them."

Cindy Aitchison-Mortimer: "I’m pretty sure it’s illegal to close the road for that long....will the hiways be blocked off too like last year? I was out and couldn’t get way to get there.."

Carol Earl What if an ambulance, fire or police are needed?

Ruby Truax: "They say they've made "provisions" for emergency vehicles to get through, but there will certainly be a delay, and in the case of emergencies, every minute counts!"

Aleasha Johnson Campbell: "It’s inconvenient always, whether it goes through town and blocks people in there or goes out of town and blocks the residents out there. My road (Princess) has always been blocked off for the triathlons, and such. I’ve always gone out and driven very carefully to get around the racers. Maybe the town would consider doing something to help both residents and racers, why do they need the whole road?"

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