We're watching our small town (population 18,280) of Huntsville, Ontario transform before our eyes in preparation for the G8 Summit, the leading Forum for First World economic powers, coming here June 25th-27th, 2010.
It gets even bigger...Prime Minister Harper recently announced that the G20 Summit will also be held in Huntsville, co-hosted by Canada and South Korea.
The G8 countries - Canada, France, United States, United Kingdom, Russia, Germany, Japan and Italy - have met annually at the Summit since 1975, with Canada joining in 1976 and Russia in 1997. The G20 Summit was formed in 1999, and also includes Argentina, Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, and the European Union. The nations get together to discuss issues such as climate change, national security, democracy and human rights.
The G20 will happen either just before or just after the G8 summit, with both events being held at Deerhurst Resort. Needless to say, there's a lot of activity in Huntsville right now. We're bracing ourselves for an influx of at least 25,000 visitors (which are the delegates and their entourages only) not including protestors - and that's just for the G8, as we have been told by the RCMP and OPP Security Team!
We at Century 21 Cottage Country Realty, as well as other area realtors, have been visited by the RCMP and asked to let them know if we notice any unusual activity as we travel the area, or if any deal just "doesn't feel right." (For example, if a buyer wants to use all cash in the transaction, or if clients don't appear to be who they say they are or are representing an unknown entity.)
Landlords in Demand
And then there's the issue of Huntsville residents renting out their properties for G8/G20 Summit visitors. We've received many calls from residents wondering what their property might fetch if they rented it out that week. Many of the landowners with large fields around the Huntsville area have been approached by the Canadian military to rent their lands for temporary bases.
We're telling folks to exercise caution when it comes to renting, to talk first to the people in Ottawa who are vetting the renters to be on the safe side. (For example, you may think you are renting to four people only to find out that you are renting to a dozen!)
We're watching a brand new media centre going up in Huntsville that enlarges our existing arena and community centre (background, in photo to the right). At the end of it all, Huntsville will have a larger arena, a new senior's centre, an early-years children's centre along with a larger conference area. Our roads, bridges and landscaping are being upgraded as well.
The local business community has been invited to attend meetings with the RCMP and OPP team overseeing security. They're answering our questions and letting us know what to expect and where to expect it. Some Huntsville business owners are worried about potential "anti'globalization" protestors at the Summits and how that could affect our businesses.
We've been told that the protesters will be mainly where the media and checkpoints are, since they want to be seen. Therefore, it seems likely that our town won't be adversely effected by any insurgents. And the general public in Huntsville are being closely guided through the process with many commentaries and updates in our local newspapers and through Town Hall.
We'll keep you updated as we become more involved and have new information to share on the G8 and G20 Summits!