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Campbell River to bid for BC Winter Games

The City of Campbell River will bid to host the BC Winter Games.

Coun. Andy Adams, with support from the rest of council, directed city staff to prepare an application to host the games in 2016, which are scheduled for Feb. 25-28.

The BC Games Society, which oversees summer and winter games every two years in even numbered calendar years, sent a letter to the city on Feb. 1 inviting the city to submit a bid. The city had a choice of bidding on either the summer or winter games in 2016 or either of the two games in 2018.

“The method to my madness is the sooner the better,” Adams said. “Perhaps if we’re not successful this time, we could apply and be successful in 2018.”

The BC Games Society said the games have the potential to provide a boost to the local economy.

“Past hosting cities have spoken about the positive impact the games have provided them, the increase in community spirit, and the opportunity for their residents to rally around a proactive opportunity,” said Cathy Priestner Allinger, chair of the games society, in a letter to council. “Also mentioned are the economics of the BC Games – recent measured spending related to games hosting ranges from $1.8 million for a BC Winter Games, to $2.6 million for the summer event. The majority of this spending is by family and friends attending the games. With sport tourism on the rise, the BC Winter and BC Summer Games are a perfect opportunity to highlight your city’s facilities, sport culture, and community pride.”

Campbell River is no stranger to the BC Winter Games; the city hosted the event in 1997.

“I know Campbell River previously hosted the Winter Games and it was a tremendous success,” Adams said. “The 1997 Winter Games were absolutely outstanding. So I figured we’d do it again.”

He said his rationale for not lobbying for the Summer Games is because the city does not have an appropriate-sized track.

“The Winter Games we’re able to host entirely,” Adams said. “With the Summer Games we would need to co-host with the Comox Valley like we did with the Seniors Games.”

In its application the city will need to include a list of all major events it hosted in the past five years; a list of potential facilities for accreditation, dining, opening and closing ceremonies, and a medical clinic; and letters of support from sport, community and other groups.

The Winter Games typically involves 2,000 participants of average age between 13-15 years. The BC Games Society provides the host city with $525,000 for the Winter Games but the host community must commit a minimum of $45,000 cash and $50,000 in-kind services and facilities for the planning and staging of the games. Campbell River has until Sept. 10, 2012 to submit its bid to host the games and an announcement of host communities will take place in November 2012. Vernon hosted this year’s BC Winter Games while Mission is the host city for the 2014 BC Winter Games. The 2014 BC Summer Games will come to the Island when Nanaimo plays host. The BC Games are a stepping stone for young athletes to national and international competitions and to multi-sport competitions like the Canada Games and the Olympic or Paralympic Games.

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