City to pass on bid for 2016 Alberta Winter Games

  • Mar. 6, 2013 3:54 p.m.

Red Deer City council has decided they will not make a bid for the 2016 Alberta Winter Games.

Although the decision was split amongst councillors, most felt that because the City has already agreed to bid on the 2019 Canada Winter Games, the City would concentrate on that particular event.

The City will know by late 2014 where they are at in terms of their bid to host the 2019 Canada Winter Games.

“I’m not sure it’s a good idea to put all of our eggs into one basket. We have the current facilities to host this and I think it would give our volunteers a chance to build up before the 2019 Winter Games,” said Councillor Chris Stephan.

Councillor Buck Buchanan agreed.

“What happens if we don’t get the 2019 Winter Games? For the community’s sake I think it’s always a good thing to make a bid. We do have the facilities to host the events. Right now this is what is in front of us. Let’s put the bid in.”

Councillor Tara Veer said she didn’t think the City should bid on the event.

“All of the other sports events we’ve bid on have been citizen-led initiatives. This is coming from the province as they are looking for interest. I don’t think we are losing out because there will be other events that will be held.”

Councillor Frank Wong as well as Buchanan and Stephan opposed the motion to not bid.

Meanwhile, late last year City council decided to move forward in the bidding process for the 2019 Canada Winter Games.

This is not the City’s first attempt to host these Games. Red Deer was shortlisted in 1995.

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 for timelines, this month the 2019 sport selection process will be completed and the official launch of the City’s bid will be in June. By December, 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.

Last year when the City agreed to make a bid, Darcy Mykytyshyn, consultant for the project, said 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,” he said.

“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.”

efawcett@reddeerexpress.com

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