The 2019 Canada Winter Games’ lasting impact will be felt long after the last medal has been handed out and the cheering crowds have left.
Games organizers and supporters echoed that theme as they gathered at River Bend Gold Course and Recreation Area to officially welcome Peavey Mart’s $100,000 donation to provide lighting for four km of cross-country ski trails. River Bend will be the venue for cross-country skiing and biathlon events at the games.
Peavey Mart CEO Doug Anderson said his family has been a regular visitor to River Bend and enjoy cross-country skiing, as do many of their friends.
Besides being an obvious good fit, the donation will enhance a popular local recreation spot while leaving a lasting mark on the community.
River Bend Golf and Recreation Society chairman Ray Lewchuk said the donation of lighting and other improvements is welcomed.
“We are always looking at ways to enhance our property out there and this is a great step,” said Lewchuk.
At least $750,000 in work has been done at River Bend already. A building for timers and a flat stadium site created for competition starts and finishes have been constructed and five km of trails renovated.
Games organizer Hugh McPherson said River Bend itself was a legacy of the province’s Heritage Trust Fund in the 1980s.
“The 2019 Canada Winter Games are very, very pleased to continue with the legacy of the development of the site,” said McPherson.
It is not only biathlon and cross-country skiing that will benefit. It will be a recreation facility that all Central Albertans will be able to use.
Tom Marr-Laing, president of the Parkland Cross-Country Ski Club, said the lighting will make a big difference at a time of year when daylight is in short supply.
“We have ski trails here, but it’s hard to use when it’s dark at night. With peavey’s money we’re going to have lighting for four km of (trails) so people can come out in January and February in the evening when it gets dark at 4:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. and ski until 9 p.m.”
The upgrades will allow hosting of national-level competitions.