Construction projects for the 2019 Canada Winter Games were spared damage during Tuesday’s straight-line windstorm, and they are on time and on budget.
“If the projects are behind at all, they’re behind by a week not by months, so we’re really looking forward to the opening of those projects and having test events,” said Lyn Radford, 2019 Canada Winter Games Host Society board chair at press conference at the Scott Block on Friday to update the community on the Games projects.
She said the Games legacy plan includes tree planting that will help also out the city a little when it comes to replacing trees knocked down in the storm.
New facilities will leave Red Deer with new and improved recreational and cultural amenities that will increase the city’s sport hosting capabilities and benefit the overall community. Projects include:
l The Great Chief Park Enhancement Project (opening early 2018) — A new 400-metre speedskating oval/artificial sports field and new pavilion building are under construction. Great Chief Park will host long track speedskating.
l River Bend Golf and Recreation Area enhancements (to be completed early 2018) — Trail enhancements are underway, as well as a renovated biathlon range and new stadium area. River Bend will host cross-country skiing and biathlon.
l Canada Games Celebration Plaza (construction to begin this fall) — The plaza will be constructed on the grounds of the historic Central Elementary School located downtown. After the Games, the building will become a legacy cultural centre.
l Canyon Ski Resort upgrades (to be completed in 2018) — Upgrades include run widening and terrain enhancements. Canyon Ski Resort will host freestyle skiing and snowboarding.
l Canada Games Legacy Facility — The city is a contributing partner along with the province, Red Deer College and private donors to the construction of the Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre.
The new Servus Arena, although not a Games project, is under construction and will host men’s and women’s hockey.
On Friday the city released a video to update the community on the projects.
Radford said a lot of the projects were on the city’s master plan for awhile, like Great Chief Park.
“Sometimes you need that impetus and extra cash flow to begin the projects,” Radford said.
Shelley Gagnon, the city’s recreation parks and culture manager, said it feels like the focus is on winter, but combining an Olympic skating oval with artificial turf at Great Chief Park will extend the use of the park to 12 months of the year.
She said some of the last areas for work to start has been Canyon Ski Resort and designs are now finalized.
If people visit the newly refurbished Discovery Canyon, they will see progress on the cross-country ski trail at River Bend Golf and Recreation Area, she said.
“Interestingly enough, the Games cross-country ski trail will come back right through the beach area of Discovery Canyon so we were able to work with that project and the ski trail project and combine and create some efficiencies there,” Gagnon said.