Red Deer is one step closer to the 2019 Canada Winter Games after the official opening of Setters Place at Great Chief Park.
The new City facility features a three-storey pavilion, along with a new synthetic field used for both football and soccer. In the winter, the field can be converted into a 400m outdoor speed skating oval — which will host the long track speed skating events at the Games.
The $12 million facility was built in conjunction with a $3 million grant from the government of Canada and also received a naming sponsorship for JT Setters and Sons.
Mayor Tara Veer said the opening signifies another great day in Red Deer.
“A four-season park with enhanced, modern facilities has been a long-standing community vision,” she said. “Because of the 2019 Canada Winter Games and the federal infrastructure funds that came our way as well as the sponsorship from the Setters’ family, this long-awaited vision has finally become a reality.”
Veer said the park will not only serve the 2019 Canada Winter Games, but also will be a place to go for generations of Red Deerians. It also serves as an enhanced node in the City’s park system
“Red Deer is well known and Red Deerians love our national award-winning linear park trail system but our park was only built to 100,000 population,” she said.
“Now that we are at that 100,000 population threshold, it is important we build for the next generation and the years to come. This marks an enhanced, modernized ability for our local sports community and culture groups to make use of this facility for all types of purposes.”
Veer said the project was the culmination of a community effort.
“I am incredibly proud that our community came together initially to secure the Canada Winter Games and our community came together to make this project happen. Ultimately, this enhanced, modernized space will bring this community together,” she said.
She added she looks forward to welcoming over 20,000 fellow Canadians in just under 13 months.
David Patterson, president and CEO of the Canada Games Council, said the facility is an example of how the Canada Games benefits Canadian communities.
“This is what the Canada Games can deliver to a community – a facility that can serve the whole community. The games are the catalyst and the magic happens starting at the games, but then for 30, 40, 50 years after that,” he said.
He credited Lyn Radord, the Canada Games board chair in Red Deer and CEO Scott Robinson and his team for the job they have done so far bringing the games to Red Deer.
“You here in Red Deer are in great hands and the athletes across Canada,” he said.
With such a short time remaining before the games, Patterson said it is time to get excited.
“It has been awhile since the bid was awarded and a lot of work has been done,” he said.
“Now you are seeing it become more public and it is time to get excited and think about volunteering. It is time to book time off work to volunteer and it is time for the young people to get serious about their training.
“It is time to get excited for this games because it is exciting and it is going to be a wonderful couple of weeks.”