Editorial: Positive on tragic day

GRANT SHIMMIN
Last updated 05:00 17/01/2014

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OPINION: You might have expected to see a discourse here on Wednesday night's tragedy in Dunedin. After all, it's the news event most of New Zealand will have spent most of yesterday discussing.

I did contemplate that, but ultimately it's just too tough a situation even to make sense of, let alone to offer an opinion on, this soon.

Suffice it to say it's one of the biggest tragedies to strike our small country in a long time. Thoughts are with family members of the dead, especially the distraught mother of those two innocent young children, their schoolmates at the small local school where their absence will be keenly felt, and the people of that quiet St Leonards street, who may find peace just a little harder to come by for a while, even when the stunning harbour they overlook is at its tranquil best.

The nature of the tragedy really made me want to reach for something positive, something uplifting, out of today's news offering.

And fortunately it was there in the form of the bumper sporting weekend ahead in Timaru, and the resultant packing out of accommodation options here.

Of course, top motorsport is a regular visitor to these parts, with Levels hosting major meetings each year.

The racing fraternity usually swallow up a hefty chunk of the available accommodation anyway, but this year the South Island Colgate Games, involving the Mainland's top primary school athletes, has ensured that there is simply no room at the inn anywhere, at least until Sunday night, according to our story today.

Having thousands of visitors in town may not be everyone's cup of tea. Traffic may be heavier, and demand for restaurant tables and seats at the movies higher, meaning some temporary inconvenience.

But there's no doubt that the presence of so many visitors also stimulates the local economy. That may be felt most readily in the accommodation and hospitality sectors, but it also has a domino effect that will benefit other parts of the economy.

Good news, as is the opportunity to show the rest of New Zealand, and maybe even some overseas visitors, that we really can put on top sporting events here that are slick and professional. That plays a huge role in helping to ensure they come back.

Another thing: When I wrote yesterday's editorial, around 6.30pm, I was confident we'd seen the best of Wednesday's temperatures, which is why I wrote that we'd not got above 25 degrees Celsius. I was wrong. By 8pm or so, the nor'wester was blowing and the temperature soaring. I don't mind being caught out, though - we finally had a proper taste of summer. Good times.

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- The Timaru Herald

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