Council updated on process of landing Winter Games

  • Jan. 22, 2014 8:54 p.m.

This week, City council heard the latest steps that have been taken to secure Red Deer as the location for the 2019 Canada Winter Games.

The Red Deer 2019 Canada Winter Games Bid committee has submitted a technical bid package, bringing Red Deer closer to becoming the home of the Games.

“The Canada Winter Games is a celebration of youth, sport, culture and community,” said Shelley Gagnon, recreation, parks and culture manager. “While the primary reason to host the games is to contribute to sport and athlete development, it’s also about community development and pride.

“The Games also provide a unique opportunity to leverage federal and provincial capital contributions for the development of physical legacies or facilities. These are a long-term investment for our residents to enjoy for years to come.”

The Canada Winter Games is slated for February of 2019, and will either be held in Red Deer or Lethbridge. A host community can expect to accommodate 3,600 athletes, coaches and managers; 1,500 technical representatives and officials; 450 media and broadcast personnel and 25,000 visitors over the 17-days of competition.

The opportunity to host these Games comes to the province every 20 years – the last time Alberta had the opportunity was 1995 when Grande Prairie was selected. In 1975, the honours went to Lethbridge.

The economic benefit is also significant, she said, pointing out that the 2011 host city of Halifax saw a $131 million impact.

“The Games is really like holding 21 national championships simultaneously within a two-week period.”

Gagnon said the committee has entered the Technical Review Phase of the competitive process to get the games in Red Deer, and they have successfully submitted their technical package to the Canada Games Council. The comprehensive host community bid submission is due May 30.

“We are very excited to show everything Red Deer has to offer to make the 2019 games an exceptional games experience.”

Red Deer has also received an official logo from the Canada Games Council. This logo signifies that Red Deer has now been recognized as an official bid community that is bidding for the 2019 Canada Winter Games.

And during the first week of February, the Canada Games Technical Review Committee will come to Red Deer for a day and tour the core sport and non-sport venues.

“They will visit to confirm the information they received in the bid document, to ask, probe and ask questions, and have the opportunity to touch, see and feel the venues and our proposed plans.”

Meanwhile, it’s also important for the community to ramp up the City’s profile as the selection process moves forward, officials say.

“Our committee is working very hard at ensuring the Canada Games Bid Evaluation Committee knows that Red Deer is ready for these games,” said Lyn Radford, chair of the Red Deer 2019 Canada Winter Games Bid Committee. “We want Red Deerians to help us raise the level of excitement in our community and show what we can do when we all work together.”

After the technical phase, communities vying for the Games will enter the Bid Evaluation Phase of the process. Final bid proposals are due to the Canada Games Bid Evaluation Committee by the end of May.

“The tour in June by the Bid Evaluation Committee is also a critical piece in our evaluation journey,” said Gagnon. “This is our opportunity to showcase our City and demonstrate our ability to host the best games ever. We need our entire community to be engaged. We want to line the streets and host a huge party to show the Canada Games Council that Red Deer is ready.

“Red Deer is ready and we have a strong bid.”

Final announcements about the host community will be made in September.