Alberta Games a major undertaking…perhaps too major for rural area

Alberta Games a major undertaking…perhaps too major for rural area

County of Wetaskiwin hears about resources needed to host Alberta Summer, Winter Games

The County of Wetaskiwin would need a number of large partners and plenty of resources to host the Alberta Summer or Winter Games, councilors heard during their regular Planning and Development Meeting Mar. 14.

The issue of hosting the summer or winter games actually came up two days before, at council’s general meeting Mar. 12. Councilors read a letter about the search for a host community for the 2022 games.

Councilor Josh Bishop wondered if the County of Wetaskiwin and surrounding area had the resources to submit a bid on one of the events. It was decided to table the discussion and have Recreation director Geoff Lynch give a report to council.

Lynch submitted a report to councilors Mar. 14 which shone a light on just how much infrastructure, resources and effort are needed for those games.

“Administration contacted Don Wilson, the Director, Alberta Games and Marketing at Alberta Sport Connection to discuss the process and requirements needed to host the Alberta winter or summer games,” stated Lynch in his report.

“Administration received two documents from Don Wilson that outline the bid requirements for the 2022 Alberta winter and summer games, both documents have been provided to Council for review.

Some of the requirements included, “Capability of accommodating approximately 2,800 athletes, coaches and officials.

“Availability of food service facilities for up to a minimum of 1,000-1,200 at one seating.

“Regulation size competition areas.

“The estimated costs to host an event of this size are approximately $1,600,000 to $1,700,000. There is an offsetting grant in the amount of $420,000 from the provincial government.

“Capability of providing 2,500 to 3,000 volunteers, a major component to hosting.”

Lynch added, “Administration has recognized that the current infrastructure within the County of Wetaskiwin and the City of Wetaskiwin would not support this major event but potential partnerships with surrounding municipalities would be a viable option.”

Assistant CAO Jeff Chipley, who has volunteered for previous Alberta games, said facilities are a huge issue, as, for example, the City of Wetaskiwin has only one ball diamond that would meet requirements. He noted the area lacks some facilities, such as rugby pitches.

Chipley said, even with partners, it would be very challenging to host the Alberta games in the County of Wetaskiwin.

Councilors decided to accept the Alberta summer games investigation as information only.

Stu.salkeld@pipestoneflyer.ca