Red Deer College has officially joined the city’s bid for the 2019 Canada Winter Games.
On Wednesday, the board of governors passed resolutions solidifying its partnership should Red Deer be named host of the national games in September.
The college will provide Olympic-sized ice surface for short-track speed skating and four international calibre squash courts in its planned health, wellness and sport complex. The centre would serve as a legacy piece for the community.
An additional 500 or more beds will be added to the student residences as part of the college’s commitment to provide the athletes’ village.
“The college is delighted to be a vital partner to the city and the region to ensure we get the games,” said Shelley Ralston, board of governors chairperson. “And after the games that we have great facilities for our learners and our community.”
Administration presented a two-hour business case to the board that included the financial impact of building an estimated $66-million complex on the college budget. The centre has been in the college’s capital plan for many years.
RDC president Joel Ward said the Canada Winter Games will allow the college to get more partners on board to help the college build the multiplex. The board has not given final approval on the construction of the centre but Ward expects if Red Deer is granted the games, the process will continue.
“With our partners we will be able to create this great facility on our campus that will serve our needs the day after the games are over and remain as a legacy for the college and the community,” he said.
Ward said all costs including relocating students for a week will be covered through the Canada Games budget.
Ward said he sees the Canada Winter Games as Red Deer’s cotillion moment.
“It’s our ability to become a different kind of community,” said Ward. “This is a big league event.”
Ward said all these partners working together will use the event to create and add facilities to the city’s inventory that likely would not have happened for 10 or 15 years.
Red Deer could generate an estimated $132 million in economic impact from the games.
Lyn Radford, bid committee chairperson, offered her gratitude to the board and administration for recognizing the value in helping the community out in trying to bring the event to Red Deer. Radford said with the college on board, the committee can now put together the final pieces together for its official bid. “We are being very diligent in all aspects of it,” said Radford. “Our whole committee is being very diligent so this event is not going to be hardship on the community but rather leave tremendous legacies.”
The bid committee will give a final presentation on its bid at Red Deer city council on June 9.
The bid must be submitted to the Canada Games Council by June 30. The bid evaluation committee is expected to visit Red Deer on either Aug. 21 or 22.
Red Deer or Lethbridge, the only two communities in the running, will be given the nod in September.