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Keystone study shows enormous economic impact

Visitors explore the show floor in Westman Place during the Manitoba Ag Days at the Keystone Centre on Wednesday. Events like Ag Days bring tens of millions in spin-off economic value to Westman, according to a new study.

TIM SMITH/BRANDON SUN Enlarge Image

Visitors explore the show floor in Westman Place during the Manitoba Ag Days at the Keystone Centre on Wednesday. Events like Ag Days bring tens of millions in spin-off economic value to Westman, according to a new study.

The Keystone Centre is worth at least $62 million to the local economy — and probably millions more, according to a new study, results of which were released today.

Although previous studies have looked at the economic impact of individual events at the Keystone, this study was the first one to attempt a calculation of the value of the facility as a whole.

The significant impact didn’t come as a surprise to us, but the shear size of the number is certainly impressive," said Keystone general manager Neil Thomson. "It clearly demonstrates that the investments in the Keystone generate a significant and substantial impact to Brandon and western Manitoba."

The study was prepared by Doug Ramsey and Derrek Eberts of Brandon University and was funded by a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Grant.

It used estimated visitor data from the three Provincial Exhibition fairs ib 2012, the Wheat Kings 2011–12 season, the 2013 Arabian and Half-Arabian Horse Show, and 56 other Keystone Centre events in 2011–12, including Manitoba Ag Days.

"The $62 million total is based on spending only and included the direct spending multiplier used by Statistics Canada," Ramsey said. "When the data was applied to other spending multipliers the impact ranged from $53.6 to $80.7 million." 

The study did not include all events, nor did it estimate the impact of recreational sporting events, like ice hockey, figure skating, curling and indoor soccer on the local economy. 

"We (also) did not include employment multipliers as we lacked the baseline data," Eberts said. "Obviously, the impact would be much higher if this data could have been included."  

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