Sunfest will provide huge economic benefits

It’s sometimes amazing how people view waiting time.

It’s sometimes amazing how people view waiting time.

Folks will line up for hours on end on Boxing Day to save 20 bucks on a microwave.

Handing out free samples of pretty much anything from finger sandwiches to golf pencils? People will queue up and gladly wait for an extended period.

Amusement park rides? Sure, let’s stand in line for hours.

But have to wait a few minutes in traffic? Heck, no.

Sunfest 2016 will be a huge boon for Lake Cowichan. The economic benefits of the country music festival are legion.

Superstar Carrie Underwood is the headliner. It doesn’t get much bigger than that.

Sunfest owner Greg Adams was recently the guest speaker at the sold-out Cowichan Lake District Chamber of Commerce dinner, and revealed some more exciting details.

Zip lines, a Cowichan-themed market area and even the possibility of a ferris wheel are on the agenda.

“The energy and enthusiasm, it’s growing,” said Adams. “I’m seeing the energy growing.”

And that energy should continue to grow.

Development of the 175-acre Laketown Ranch site is 40 to 50 per cent complete now.

The festival main stage — which is 140 feet wide and 50 feet high —is under construction and will be a permanent feature of the facility. It will be the largest outdoor stage west of Cavendish, P.E.I.

Importantly, Adams points out the facility’s function will go beyond just concerts and music festivals. As construction has progressed on the site, so too have possible alternative uses presented themselves like charity fundraising events,  Tough Mudder obstacle races and even the start and end gates for a marathon.

The benefits have the potential to be significant, and year-round.

Adams explained that in towns across North America where tourism is a central economic driver, the busy “high season” enables businesses (especially small ones) to stay open in the off-season.

When asked about the challenges for the project, Adams pointed to changing attitudes about how busy the town is going to be during Sunfest.

“We’re busy, embrace it. Do some people watching,” he said.

And he’s right. If it takes a couple of extra minutes to drive across town for a few days, what’s the big deal?

Anyone who has ever been stuck in the Colwood crawl outside of Victoria would chuckle at the notion of a short wait in traffic.

The impacts and benefits far outweigh any mild, temporary inconvenience.

Embrace the energy and enthusiasm.