City is considering hosting BC Summer Games in 2020

Council asks city staff to look into the feasibility of hosting BC Games

The city is considering hosting the BC Summer Games.

The BC Games Society has put out a call to municipalities across the province looking for potential host communities for both the 2020 BC Winter and BC Summer Games, as well as the Summer and Winter Games in 2022.

At Tuesday night’s council meeting, Coun. Ron Kerr put forward a motion that staff report back on the feasibility of the city hosting the 2020 BC Summer Games.

Council had previously considered hosting this year’s BC Winter Games but nixed that plan on account of both the hospital and John Hart projects being underway.

But Kerr said by the time 2020 comes around, the city should be better prepared.

“The last intake, I believe we weren’t ready to get involved but I think this is far enough away that perhaps we can start working towards it,” Kerr said. “I had the opportunity to be involved last year as an athlete and I really see the economic driver in this. It makes total sense, so I’d like to see this go ahead.”

Council agreed to have staff report back but Mayor Andy Adams cautioned that the city has gone down this road before only to find it cannot host on its own.

“To do something in the context of the Summer Games – as Campbell River does not have a track facility – we would need to partner with the Comox Valley in order to put in a bid for an application, as we would for the Winter Games as well,” Adams said.

For the Winter Games, the city also needs a commitment from Mount Washington to allow the use of its ski slopes, lodge and other facilities.

The city did host the BC Winter Games in 1997 and considered hosting in 2018 after plans for the 2016 Games didn’t pan out.

The city has until Sept. 10, 2016, to submit a bid for the 2020 BC Games, which are expected to be awarded to the successful bidder in late fall of this year.

The BC Summer Games typically attracts more than 2,000 athletes competing in nearly 20 different sports including baseball, basketball, canoeing, soccer, swimming, volleyball and wrestling.

The BC Games is considered 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.

The Games are held every even-numbered year. This year’s Winter Games take place Feb. 25-28 in Penticton while Abbotsford will play host to this year’s BC Summer Games.