Confidence is running high within the ranks of the committee behind the effort to get the Canada Winter Games to Red Deer in 2019.
The technical committee for the Games paid our City a visit earlier this month and provided some very good feedback with regard to what we have to offer the athletes should Red Deer win the bid to host.
“Some facilities were definitely above standard and there were some they felt we could make some substitutions or need to solidify some things on these facilities like making sure the lighting is adequate,” said Committee Chair Lyn Radford.
The next step in the process is to hear back if Red Deer is able to move onto the second phase which would mean the local committee can begin getting documents readied and potentially a tour of the City with a more in-depth look at what Red Deer offers up, she said.
“We’re hoping that when they give us a date (likely in June) we can then go ahead and begin to ramp up the community,” said Radford. “We need to show that the community knows and believes in what could happen here.”
She added the feeling right now is it’s Red Deer’s time to have a coming out party and this could be it.
The bid evaluation committee is now looking at how firm the commitments are from various partners in the City like Red Deer College, the school boards, Canyon Ski Resort, River Bend Recreation Area and others who need to put down on paper their willingness to commit to the games, she said.
There is also a cultural component to these Games and Radford said some of the focus for the local committee will be to gather those groups into the fold.
“We’ve really got to broaden our horizons and recognize that this is really a full community aspect.”
Radford said she’s confident Red Deer will reach the next stage so work is starting on the massive budget which needs to be in place in order for these Games to take off.
She added the rough number could be north of $30 million dollars but quickly added there is government money involved in that and the Games also generate revenue which will go back into paying for the cost of hosting.
“We don’t want to leave our host society with any type of commitments that they can’t meet either so we have to be realistic about this.”
Radford added the economic impact of hosting the games is around $132 million dollars and so it’s not only the sporting community which wins in this effort but the rest of the community will benefit as well.
“These Games are huge and like I said it’s like a coming out party or coming of age party and Red Deer is ready for it,” she said.