City of Leduc officials are crossing all their fingers and toes as they submit a letter of intent to bid for the 2016 Alberta Summer Games. City Council agreed to send the letter of intent at the Jan. 27th Council meeting. Prior to approval from City Council, Leduc County Council responded with full support when approached by the City to co-host the games.
The City was already looking into bidding for the 2018 or 2020 summer games but just recently Mayor Krischke was approached by the Alberta Sports Connection and it was requested that the City put in a bid for the 2016 games.
Leduc has a very successful history with hosting large sporting events, most notably with the rave reviews received from the 2008 Alberta Winter Games. The 2008 Winter Games have been showcased around the region as an example of how a successful sporting event should be run.
The Alberta Summer Games are held every two years with the upcoming 2014 games being held in Airdrie. If Leduc's letter of intent is approved and the City wins the bid for the 2016 games, the crunch will be on to organize such a huge undertaking in a very short period of time. Leduc had three years to prepare for the 2008 games so should this bid move ahead and be successful, the City, businesses and volunteers will have a challenge set out for them.
Over 3000 participants from around the Province attend the games with elite young athletes competing in 15 different sports including baseball, swimming, canoe/kayak, track and field, BMX/mountain biking and basketball to name a few.
Numerous facilities around the City would be utilized to host the various sporting events including the Leduc Recreation Centre, Telford Lake, William F. Lede Park, and several local schools. However, it is acknowledged that some facility upgrades would be required in order to host the games, most notably a track overlay at John Bole Athletic Park, new beach volleyball courts, and upgrades would be needed for the rowing competition at Telford Lake. Right now it is still unknown how the City would hold the BMX/mountain bike competitions as there are no facilities in Leduc able to accommodate this sport.
A BMX track is one of the proposals that have been suggested for the North Telford Lands. If approved, the City would try to have the track completed in time for the games but if that is not feasible then another possibility would be to approach the Town of Devon for the use of their bike park. Devon and Leduc have previous experience working together from partnering in the 2008 winter games so it is anticipated that if necessary, it would again be a successful joint venture.
The City's stance is that hosting the games would provide a significant economic benefit for the City, there would be a legacy of new and upgraded facilities, as well as enhanced partnerships with the County, local school boards and the Alberta Government. An early estimate shows that the games could generate approximately $15 million for the region.
The projected budget for the 2016 Alberta Summer Games, based on the budget for the 2008 Alberta Winter Games, is $2 million. The budget shows $955,000.00 coming from fundraising, sponsorship and gifts-in-kind, leaving $1,045,000.00 to be covered by the City. The City's Community Development Coordinator, Taylor Styles, admitted that this was just a rough budget at this point and that those numbers are expected to change. Projected Capital expenses for the new/upgraded facilities are $1 million with a portion of those funds being accommodated through existing budgets.
“Hosting a major sporting event is no small undertaking and will have a tremendous impact on this organization and the community – as demonstrated when the city hosted the 2008 Alberta Winter Games,” says Darrell Melvie, general manager of Community and Protective Services. “Leduc’s many recreational amenities, outdoor and indoor, are a significant selling feature for this bid.”
Another asset the City believes the games will leave behind is a wealth of dedicated and skilled volunteers. More than 2500 volunteers will be required to help run the games and if the response is anything like it was for the 2008 games the City will be turning volunteers away due to the huge response from residents. The City continually gives credit to the massive support from the community as to why the 2008 Alberta Winter Games were such a successful venture.
Of course, everything is pending on first, the acceptance of the letter of intent, and then winning the bid for the games. Now that the letter of intent has been sent, an answer should be forthcoming within the next three months. So by the time spring is in the air Leduc might be on the fast track sprinting our way toward hosting the 2016 Alberta Summer Games.