The City of Red Deer is on its way to making a bid for the 2019 Canada Winter Games. City council supported a motion earlier this week to move forward with the bidding process.
Darcy Mykytyshyn, consultant for the project, told council the City has a good chance at being successful.
“We were shortlisted in 1995 when we tried and we had a very compelling bid at that time. Red Deer had all the facilities it needed then, so I think we have a very good chance at being chosen this time around,” he said. “We’re already well positioned to host an event like this. We have 60 per cent of the sports accommodations covered off with relatively no investment. And we have 90 per cent of the sports (facilities) covered off with a small to medium investment.”
Mykytyshyn told City council that the federal and provincial government will also support Red Deer if a successful bid was made.
“The funding formula is an $11.1 million investment from the provincial government and an $11.1 million investment from the federal government. The City would invest $3 million to enhance facilities and they would also supply the cost of the balance after the federal and provincial government contributions,” he said, adding the committee estimates the City will end up contributing about 8% of the cost to host the Games and the City could look to sponsorship to help reduce that cost. “Central Alberta has a tremendous reputation of getting behind events like this. I wouldn’t be surprised to see corporate Central Alberta step up in a big way to help offset the operating side of things.”
If Red Deer is selected to host the 2019 Canada Winter Games, the City will see upwards of 3,400 athletes compete over the two-week event and see an economic impact of over $100 million.
The Games would include 20 sporting events such as alpine skiing, biathlon, curling, gymnastics, snowboarding, speed skating, table tennis and wheelchair basketball, among others.
As the committee enters phase two of the bidding process, Mykytyshyn said the committee will take a look at the sporting events that need investment.
“In the report we presented a minimum of two options that we thought could be pursued in terms of finding solutions. Phase two will be about doing a detailed analysis of all of those options and trying to figure out which investments we do need to make here in Central Alberta,” he said.
As for timelines, in January, a bid launch information session will be held. In March the 2019 sport selection process will be completed and the official launch of the City’s bid will be next June. By December 2013, the short-list of bid cities will be announced and in the summer of 2014, if Red Deer makes the short-list, there will be an on-site visit by the Canada Games bid evaluation committee. In the fall of 2014 the announcement of the city who will host the 2019 Canada Winter Games will take place.
Mykytyshyn said in talking with some of the venues who could possibly host events if Red Deer has a successful bid, there is already a sense of excitement about the prospect.
Meanwhile, he added he believes Red Deer is the first to announce its intention of seeking the bid for the 2019 Canada Winter Games.
“I haven’t heard of anyone else directly willing to bid. I’m sure there will be other communities interested in bidding. But I think we’re probably the first out of the gate in terms of doing this level of research. But you never know, they might just be keeping it to themselves.”