City council doesn’t want to give up on hosting the 55+ BC Games despite a lack of interest from the Comox Valley.
Campbell River city staff told council Tuesday night that it had discussed with Comox Valley Regional District staff the possibility of jointly hosting either the 2017, 2018 or 2019 event but their southern counterparts bowed out.
That didn’t dissuade Coun. Charlie Cornfield, however, who suggested council meet with Comox Valley’s political figures to see if they would be interested in co-hosting the event.
“I’d like for our mayor to get together with their mayors to discuss this, whether it’s something politically we wish to pursue,” Cornfield said. “We were given a BC Games (in 2010) and it was a tremendous success.
“Staff have had discussions with their staff and there’s not too much interest in their point of view, so maybe it’s time to get political and see if there’s a political will to make it happen,” Cornfield added.
The city was invited in February by the 55+ BC Games society to submit a bid proposal to play host, but the city does not have all the required facilities to host a games without a partner.
Campbell River teamed up with the Comox Valley in 2010 to host the games but Lynn Wark, the city’s recreation and culture manager, said Comox Valley recreational staff aren’t prepared to host another games any time soon.
“The consensus was that after hosting the games in 2010, bidding on anything within the next few years would be very challenging,” Wark said. “It was felt it may be difficult to recruit for volunteers and also there are events that are happening in the Comox Valley this year and next year that would make it difficult to find the time and resources to put in a successful bid.”
But, nevertheless, council voted Tuesday night to meet with the Comox Valley mayors to discuss whether co-hosting the games would be of interest.
The 55+ BC Games is a multi-sport event which has the potential to generate more than $2.1 million in economic spinoff for host communities.
The last time Campbell River co-hosted the games, approximately 3,300 athletes – plus coaches and officials – participated in 28 competitive games and sports including badminton, cycling, darts, bowling, slo-pitch, tennis, disc golf, bocce ball, bridge, pickleball, one-act plays, and track and field.
Campbell River hosted 12 events while the Comox Valley hosted the remainder.
Communities that are chosen to host the Seniors Games are provided with $85,000 from the B.C. Ministry of Community, Sport and Cultural Development to help with the cost of hosting.