Red Deer going for Games

Red Deer will go head to head with Lethbridge in the fight to host the 2019 Canada Winter Games. And Lyn Radford, the city’s bid committee chairperson, says Red Deer is looking to pull out a win.

Red Deer will go head to head with Lethbridge in the fight to host the 2019 Canada Winter Games.

And Lyn Radford, the city’s bid committee chairperson, says Red Deer is looking to pull out a win.

“Basically what we find is both communities are going to put in a very strong bid,” said Radford. “Both communities are very excited about it but we’re going to say we’re going to have a little bit of an edge.”

Radford said Red Deer is ready to host 22 of the 23 sports, with some concessions.

For example, Canyon Ski Hill does not have the vertical distance required to host the super G event so Red Deer is proposing to substitute ski cross.

“I think the technical committee is going to have a difficult time,” said Radford.

“Lethbridge has some really good facilities but they do not have (everything). … All their ski events will have to move offsite, out of the community over to the mountains.”

Radford said Red Deer is closer to three airports than Lethbridge is to its closest airports. On the other hand, she said, Red Deer does not have a 50-metre pool to host synchronized swimming. Red Deer is proposing to host the swimming in Calgary.

On Feb. 7 and 8, the Canada Games technical review committee will assess the venues in Red Deer after touring Lethbridge earlier in the week.

Radford did not want to give too much information away but she said they hope to set the stage for the games when the committee tours Red Deer.

“We need to give them a really good picture of how we would set up the games in Red Deer,” said Radford.

“By the end of February, they will let us know if they can work with our suggested technical fields of play.”

After this phase, the ad hoc city committee will delve into the operating budget, which is estimated at roughly $32 million.

The federal and provincial governments have committed $8.1 million each for the operating budget and another $3 million each for capital, for a total of $22.2 million. The winning community must match the $3 million capital infrastructure commitment.

Roughly $16 million will need to be raised in operating capital.

A letter of support for the games will be circulated during the Feb. 19 Red Deer Rebels’ hockey game.

The final bid must be submitted by May 31 and sometime in June, the Canada Games bid evaluation committee will be in the city one last time. The winning community will be named in September.

crhyno@bprda.wpengine.com

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