Winter Games bid moving ahead

Red Deer is one step closer to being Alberta’s third city to host the Canada Winter Games.

Red Deer is one step closer to being Alberta’s third city to host the Canada Winter Games.

Lyn Radford, the city’s games bid committee chairperson, has received word that Red Deer’s facilities are good enough to move the community to the next stage of bidding for the 2019 Canada Winter Games.

Radford received the technical review committee report from the Canada Winter Games Council on Wednesday.

“We’re excited,” said Radford. “Sounds like we have a lot more work to do but it’s always exciting to be able to sell this great community.”

Radford said there were few surprises in the report, which provided feedback on the Red Deer facilities and venues earmarked for the games. Radford said some of the concerns were already raised during the technical visit in early February.

Red Deer proposed substituting ski cross for the Super G alpine event in the games because Canyon Ski Hill does not have the mandatory vertical height to host the event.

Radford said the committee must go back to the drawing board to look at how to bring the ski hill up to standard because the ski cross option was not accepted.

“In the areas that we were non-compliant, we have the opportunity to resubmit in the second phase and they will rescore us on it,” said Radford.

Radford said the technical committee was impressed with Red Deer’s proposed facilities for the games and the backup options available. They were also impressed with the strength of the community partnerships, such as with Canyon Ski Hill, Westerner Park and Red Deer College.

The ad hoc bid committee wanted to use Lindsay Thurber Comprehensive High School to host the badminton competitions but the gym ceilings were not high enough. Now the committee must find a new venue.

A final bid will be submitted to the Canada Winter Games Council by June 30.

It will include detailed information on the operating budget, community engagement, risk management strategy and partnership agreements.

The bid evaluation committee will visit Red Deer sometime in July for a final look before the winning community is announced in September.

The operating budget for the games is estimated at $32 million, of which half will have to be raised.

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.

Shelley Gagnon, manager of the city’s Recreation, Parks and Culture Department, said this is great news for the community. Gagnon said one of the strengths of the city’s bid is the partnerships with the venues, sports groups and residents.

“We knew we were in it,” said Gagnon. “It’s just nice to have that piece of paper in front of us going on.”

The Canada Games alternate between summer and winter games every two years. The first games were held in 1967.

Alberta hosted the games in Grande Prairie in 1995 and in Lethbridge in 1975.

Lethbridge is the only other community in the running for the 2019 Canada Winter Games.

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