The city of Moncton is paying more than $19,000 to send two staff members to Russia to participate in an international sports convention with the hope of luring more big events to the city.
Moncton has attracted a series of major sporting events to the city in recent years, such as the IAAF World Junior Track and Field Championship in 2010. The city will also hold its third Canadian Football League game in September and it will also be a host city for the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup.
City officials are hoping to continue the momentum of attracting these large sporting events by sending two officials to St. Petersburg, Russia, to attend the annual SportAccord convention, a gathering of more than 2,000 representatives from international sports.
Jacques Dubé, the city manager, said the trip is necessary if Moncton wants to compete on the world sporting stage.
"We are looking for events each and every year on a go-forward basis," he said.
"I can't guarantee to you that we're going to be successful. What we try to do is we try to target a major event each and every year for the next 10 years."
Dubé said Moncton plans to continue sending delegates to these conferences for the foreseeable future. The city attended last year's convention in Quebec City.
Governing bodies, who hold the rights to world championships and other sporting events, attend these conferences and are wooed by delegations from around the world.
Moncton has been active for several years in attracting big name concerts to its Magnetic Hill outdoor concert venue. The city, however, has not disclosed financial details about how much it has spent on luring the concerts to the city or any economic analyses.
Moncton targeting rugby, curling
Moncton will not be the only Canadian city sending delegates to the sporting convention in May.
Cities such as Toronto, Montreal and Calgary will also be sending officials to Russia with the hope of enticing sporting events to their facilities.
Dubé said the Moncton officials will be targeting specific events during the Russian trip.
"We've already been in discussions, for example, with curling federations and rugby federations and those kinds of things. Things that actually fit what we can do here," Dubé said.
Coun. Daniel Bourgeois raised questions at a council meeting on Tuesday about whether the city was setting specific targets on what the officials were expected to accomplish.
Bourgeois said he was hoping for more answers.