by Isabel Mosseler
The economic and social spin-offs from the 2019 International Plowing Match & Rural Expo (IPM 2019) held in Verner last September continue to accrue, the final fiscal accounting is almost complete, and it’s time to celebrate the hard work of all the volunteers. That was the message Neil Fox, chair of the IPM 2019 board and manager of Economic Partners Sudbury East / West Nipissing, had to share at the March 3 municipal council meeting.
Fox waxed poetic on the efforts put forth by senior staff at the municipality and the support council gave the event. “Now we get to reap the rewards.” He noted that municipal CAO Jay Barbeau and Community Services director Stephan Poulin were “engaged since day one”, and characterized Alisa Craddock, municipal Treasurer, as a “financial genius” who was not only “the accounting mastermind” but managed a $1.5M budget with timely reporting to government funders, keeping everything on track. The combined audit of both the local organization and the Ontario Plowman’s Association is almost complete and the board has one more mission, to attend a meeting on March 28 with the OPA to wrap things up.
“We are confident we turned a profit that can be returned to the community… One day this spring we will share, first and foremost, with all the volunteers.” That day, date to be determined, is expected to be a celebration hosting local volunteers and sponsors. The 2019 IPM was also named a “Top 100” event in Ontario by Festival and Events Ontario. 
In his address to council, Fox focused on four areas of lasting effect: Community Engagement, IPM Projects and Initiatives, Economic Impact and Overall Experience. “If Ontario were the universe, Verner was the centre of the universe,” he said, reminiscing about the parade, the visiting politicians and VIPs, and all the people who came to visit Verner. “Now we have to look at how we can leverage this event and keep the momentum going in terms of economic development for years to come.”

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