Red Deer will be ready for its closeup when the 2019 Canada Winter Games start in two weeks.
Organizers said sports and culture venues, and the athletes village, will be prepared, and it’s all coming in on budget with a contingency fund for issues that may arise.
“You never know what the weather is going to throw at you. Back in 2015, Prince George had to move their speedskating to Fort St. John, so we have a plan in place for those kinds of things. Hopefully, we won’t have to use Plan B,” Lyn Radford, chair of the 2019 Canada Winter Games Committee, said Friday at an event held at Setter’s Place to mark the final two weeks before the kickoff of the national event.
“Not only are we set to operationally deliver a life-shaping games experience … but we’re also set to leave lasting infrastructure, sport, volunteer, sustainable, cultural and social legacies in our community.”
She said sports equipment used at the games will be left to local sports organizations, and games organizers have been working with community partners to develop a sport leadership agency.
“Following the 2019 games, a sport leadership agency continues building the momentum of hosting major sport events and sport development for all central Alberta athletes, coaches, officials, leaders and community.”
Radford said the games will leave behind a trained, 5,000-strong volunteer force ready to host future national and international events.
“It’s really only 15 days away and I’m grateful that we’ve asked ourselves as a community — what’s next? What’s after the games so that we’re always building towards our future,” Mayor Tara Veer said.
Veer said she is proud of the efforts of the community and feels confident that Red Deer will host the best games that Canada has ever seen.
She said a lot has transpired since the idea to host the games was first contemplated seven years ago.
“The message to the people of our country is welcome. We are so proud to be able to welcome our fellow Canadians to a transformed Red Deer because of the Canada Winter Games. The message to community is thank you. This really is our moment. We have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to welcome Canadians like this, and to experience the games.”
Programs have also been developed to assist the community during the event.
Radford said to reduce the environmental impact of the games, organizers have collaborated with the city so all volunteers will receive free public transit to their volunteer shifts to help manage carbon emissions.
A Mitts for Many program will be organized to help the most vulnerable in the community, and ongoing food donations during the games will be made to The Mustard Seed.