Red Deer, Lethbridge vying for Winter Games

Look sharp Lethbridge. Red Deer is more than ready to host the 2019 Canada Winter Games.

Look sharp Lethbridge.

Red Deer is more than ready to host the 2019 Canada Winter Games.

In a report to city council on Monday, Recreation, Parks and Culture manager Shelley Gagnon said the city is moving on to the next step in its bid to win the games after submitting its technical bid package to the Canada Games Council this week.

Lethbridge is the only other Alberta community in the running to host the two-week winter competition in February 2019.

“I think we could spend days comparing how we measure up in terms of facilities,” said Gagnon. “As a committee we know we have a strong bid. We have great facilities. We have excellent partnerships with some of our key community members … that really speak to the strength of our bid is that our whole community is engaged in this process.”

Gagnon said the committee believes they have the right stuff to make a compelling argument to win the games.

The opportunity to host the games comes to Alberta every 20 years.

Red Deer was trumped by Grande Prairie in 1995 and Lethbridge hosted the games in 1975.

Mayor Tara Veer said Red Deer has better than a 50-50 chance of snagging the games.

She said Red Deer boasts strong amenities on the recreation front and is well-positioned between two international airports in Calgary and Edmonton and has its own airport.

“I think Red Deer is in a prime and very favourable position,” said Veer. “Red Deer has matured as a city in the last 20 years and I think we’ve elevated our profile on a number of fronts in Canada.”

The Canada Games technical review committee will pay Red Deer a visit to evaluate the proposed sites in early February.

The 23 sporting events will be held at city facilities including Canyon Ski Resort, Collicutt Centre and the Pidherney Centre.

One sport can be held outside the host community. The committee is working with the City of Calgary to host synchronized swimming at the Talisman Centre.

Red Deer will know by the end of February if they have moved on to the next phase, a comprehensive host community bid submission, which is due on May 30. Gagnon will be before council before the document is submitted. If all goes well, the bid evaluation committee will be in Red Deer in June. In September, the host committee for the 2019 Canada Winter Games will be announced.

In other council news:

lCouncil unanimously extended the deadline of the urban chicken pilot project until June 30, 2014. More time is needed to consult with the public. The pilot was originally set to end on March 31, 2014.

lLegislative Services manger Frieda McDougall, who serves as the city’s returning officer during municipal elections, delivered a report on October 2013’s election. McDougall shared highlights including the 31.81 per cent voter turnout, the popularity of advance voting and the processes involved in hosting an election. Future reports will come before council including the campaign expense and revenue disclosure in March. In December 2016, another report will come to council with some decision making points including election signs and having council meetings during election periods for the 2017 municipal election.