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Downtown businesses request that Santa 5k road race occur in November not busy December shopping season

The Burlington Downtown Business Association is requesting that council shift the date of the annual Santa 5k road race from December, to November, to avoid the busy Christmas season. The race was held in November in 2016, then shifted to December in 2017 over objections of local businesses. They are now asking for the November date to be restored.

The BDBA has written a memo to the Committee of the Whole outlining their concerns and rationale, including that the race puts a strain on existing municipal parking supply during the prime Christmas shopping season; every weekend in December is critical for retailers for Christmas sales; 75% of retailers surveyed said their sales were “lower than average” during and after the race; and race participants and spectators do not generally shop or translate into new sales.

The BDBA has requested that a motion be tabled to permanently move the race to the last Saturday in November, starting in 2018.

Read the memo and business survey results:

The request will be discussed at the Committee of the Whole July 9, 1pm, with a final decision being made at Council July 16. Residents can Register as a Delegation to speak at either meeting, or submit written comments to for distribution to committee members.

Update: Committee however ignored the BDBA and voted to retain the December date. This heads to council July 16.

My Take: As the council-appointed liaison to the BDBA I brought the motion forward to move the date, which failed. The race was successfully held in November in 2016. Moving the date away from the Christmas season reflects an appropriate balance of the interest of the race organizer to stage the race, and the needs of existing levy-paying, bricks and mortar businesses in our downtown to do business in December. This was a win-win proposal to keep the race downtown and respect the needs of downtown businesses over Christmas.

Written by Marianne Meed Ward

A Better Burlington began in 2006 after my neighbours said they felt left out of city decisions, learning about them only after they’d been made.

As journalist for 22 years, I thought “I can do something about that” and a website and newsletter were born. They’ve taken various forms and names over the years, but the intent remains: To let you know what’s happening at City Hall before decisions are made, so you can influence outcomes for A Better Burlington.

The best decisions are made when elected representatives tap the wisdom of our community members, and welcome many different perspectives.This site allows residents to comment and debate with each other; our Commenting Guidelines established in 2016 aim to keep debate respectful.

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  1. A great suggestion for the 2018 race should they like to keep December as their chosen month, is to stage it from the Tansley Community Centre, Upper Middle Road. Changing locations can always be a good thing, racers and merchants can then live happily ever after

  2. Be nice if the Chilly Marathon could be moved so people who live on lakeshore in buildings are not stuck in their homes all day

What's your take?





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