Sackville deals with rare crowd

Traffic, accommodation, and security were top priorities for Sackville and Mount Allison University this weekend, as the university hosted its first Uteck Bowl. With only one week of planning, arrangements to accommodate the big crowd were critical for allowing a great experience at the game. 

Though the university only had a week of planning, Atlantic University Sport (AUS) and Canadian Intervarsity Sport (CIS) provided logistical experience and support to Mt. A. CIS is responsible for intervarsity sport for all of Canada, while AUS manages only the Atlantic region. These groups also worked closely with the Town of Sackville and the local Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP). 

Mt. A’s Director of Administrative Services Michelle Strain said, “The AUS/CIS folks are very experienced in all of the logistics of planning for regional championships. This was the first time the Uteck Bowl was hosted by Mount Allison, but planning went smoothly.” Though the group anticipated a crowd of 4,000, about 3,600 attended the game. The RCMP reported no arrests related to the game and said, “Everything went well.”

Illegal drinking was the biggest worry for the RCMP who noted that “large crowds and alcohol” can attract general mischief. The RCMP called in extra man power from Shediac to ensure an efficient response. AUS also contracted Halifax-based firm Shadow Security to provide additional support before and during the game.

Aside from security, the RCMP was involved in handling traffic logistics. Strain explained that “a comprehensive plan for traffic and parking” was devised. The plan included “a total of 1,300 parking spots set aside, including local schools and places like Moneris,” added Strain. Two Streets, York and Lansdowne, were closed, and maps were posted on the Mt. A website and given out at checkpoints heading to town, said Strain. She added that accommodation was exhausted in Sackville and so some travellers sought accommodation in Moncton and Amherst.

AUS covered much of the cost associated with the event, such as “ticketing, security at the game, sound equipment, tent,” said Strain. All profits directly associated with the game went to AUS, who had already set a price, and also received sponsorship from groups like SportsCentre and the CBC.

Strain said that the handling of the Uteck Bowl was a great success. “It was truly a great effort among many administrative departments and athletics to pull this off with less than a week to plan for such a large event.” 

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