Representatives from five municipalities — Red Deer, Calgary, Strathcona County, St. Albert and Lethbridge — gathered in Edmonton on Tuesday to learn about bid guidelines and hosting rules for the 2019 Canada Winter Games.
Lyn Radford, chairperson of Red Deer’s 2019 Winter Games Bid Planning Ad Hoc Committee, said it was a good mix of municipalities, but Red Deer has some advantages for both athletes and spectators.
She said Red Deer College could serve as the athletes’ village. Collicutt Centre, together with Notre Dame and Hunting Hills high schools, could create a larger hub for the games. RDC’s proposed multiplex, Westerner Park and Canyon Ski Hill also have a lot to offer.
Radford said Red Deer would provide a broader spectator draw than Calgary or municipalities near Edmonton, and hosting the games would help Red Deer move out of the shadow of Edmonton and Calgary.
“It would allow us to move forward and become our own entity. It is a really good platform,” Radford said.
The 2019 Winter Games will draw 3,600 to 3,800 athletes over two weeks, with about half of the 19 sports held the first week and the rest held in the final week.
One sport can be held outside the host community. Red Deer would need to use a pool, probably in Edmonton or Calgary, for synchronized swimming.
Bids for the games must be submitted by Nov. 29. Technical reviews for each facility must be submitted by Jan. 3, 2014, and the shortlist of cities will be announced in February 2014. Proposals on things like accommodations, cultural activities and food management for the athletes, will follow.
The successful community will be announced in September 2014.
Radford said some of the facility upgrading that will be required has already been included in the city’s bid plan.
Red Deer will need $20 million for capital upgrades, not including the offsite pool venue. Each level of government — municipal, provincial and federal — must contribute $3 million. Red Deer would spend a minimum of $3 million.
The operational budget would be about $30 million, of which the provincial and federal governments will provide $8.12 million each. Funding from Red Deer would include ticket sales and corporate sponsorship.
Radford said traditionally the games are awarded to a mid-sized city because the games don’t receive as much attention in large cities.
For the winning municipality, it will be the chance to host athletes who will go on to represent Canada in the Olympics.
She said 61 per cent of the country’s 2012 Olympic medalists attended Canada Winter Games or some sort of Canada Games.