The 2019 Games are planting a total of 2,019 trees in Red Deer and central Alberta to mitigate the loss of any trees during the constructions of other legacy projects. Contributed photo

The legacy of the Games

We recently reviewed the infrastructure legacies of the Games and now we look at several other Games projects that have a lasting effect on our community.

Asset Distribution Plan and Legacy Fund potential: The 2019 Canada Winter Games invested in a significant procurement process to supply the needed equipment to host 19 national championships and a tremendous art and cultural festival. All the useable equipment and assets accrued during the Games stay in Alberta as part of our Asset Distribution Plan. In addition, the Host Society has budgeted a contingency as part of its operating budget. The portion of the contingency that is not spent is allocated as a Legacy Fund to be distributed as part of our Legacy Fund Distribution Plan.

Business plan for a Sport Leadership Agency: Recognizing that all Games legacies need to be sustainable, the 2019 Legacy Plan included a project to develop a business proposal for the development of a Sport Leadership Agency in central Alberta. This Business Plan has been presented and approved by the Host Society Board and, if implemented, provides a framework for an ongoing sport development model that would identify opportunities for future sporting events and ongoing use of facilities.

Building capacity, a major event hosting framework and a strong volunteer database: The organization of the Canada Games has been complicated and multi-faceted. Over 5.000 Games time volunteers and close to 500 planning volunteers have been actively involved in bringing this event to fruition. The model for delivery has involved integrating functions between local, provincial and national sport and cultural organizations. The knowledge that has been gained by organizing an event of this magnitude and the volunteer database will stay in our community and can serve as a model for future events. The 2019 Games has built capacity in our community and has developed leaders both as volunteers and in our staff complement. Our community is stronger as a result.

Sustainability projects: As part of the 2019 Canada Winter games Legacy Plan, our legacy principles emphasize legacies that provide a long-term community benefit and, where possible, we invest in permanent facilities versus renting or building temporary facilities. Our Legacy Plan also identifies a strong emphasis on sustainable practices as part of the Games. We have implemented a long-term sustainable project with our 2019 Trees for the Future Program. The 2019 Games are planting a total of 2,019 trees in Red Deer and central Alberta to mitigate the loss of any trees during the constructions of other legacy projects.

Social service agency interaction: The 2019 Canada Winter Games has several projects designed to integrate the sporting event with social service agencies. The Mustard Seed project has all the unused food go to those in need daily. A program has been developed to have all food that is identified as useable from a health perspective picked up by the Mustard Seed and utilized in an expanded program to feed the hungry.

Our Mittens for Many project is a coordinated effort with the provincial and territorial teams across the country to help our disadvantaged. Participants from each province and territory have been asked to bring mittens and/or gloves with them to Red Deer and deposit them in a collection box in the Great Hall at the Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre for distribution to the Mustard Seed. It is our hope that our community engages in this project as well by making a donation to this program from Feb. 16 to March 2.

Economic impact: The final economic impact of the Games is not known until the Games are over. However, we already can anticipate that the effect of these Games between the Games time spend of over 20,000 visitors and infrastructure legacies is far reaching. This economic boost can only help to kick start our local economy.

Building a ‘can do’ reputation for our region: With over 40 hours of national television exposure on TSN and RDS and live streaming of over 1,200 hours of coverage throughout the Games, plus the effects of the first-ever national MNP Canada Games Torch Relay, the focus of the nation is now on Red Deer and Central Alberta. Our community is now recognized nationally as a destination for economic growth and tourism potential.

Youth development: Finally, perhaps the most important legacy for these Games is not reflected in building structures for sport and culture. Rather, for the past two years, in over 800 communities across Canada young men and women have building on their dream to compete in Red Deer. They have been learning the values of commitment, passion, dedication and teamwork on their road to Red Deer. They arrive in Red Deer ready to interact with fellow Canadians in the spirit of competition. Some of them will win gold, silver and bronze and some will go on to greater athletic accomplishments. But for the vast majority, this is their Olympics. Their legacy is a sense of pride in their accomplishments and the desire to do more. Thanks to the support that they have received along the way, they become the future builders of our nation.

So was the effort worth it?

As the first sport events occur today following an energizing Opening Ceremony last night, we confidently answers that question with a resounding YES. We believe ‘Our Moment’ translates to ‘Thousands of Moments’ yet to come.

Hugh McPherson, Vice Board Chair

2019 Canada Winter Games

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