The Sport Council of Red Deer is no more, although it may return in a different form in the not-too-distant future.
The SCoRD, formed in 2009 to provide a unified voice and celebrate amateur sport in the city, disbanded due to ‘on-going sustainability and capacity challenges’, according to a City of Red Deer press release.
Rob Meckling, the Red Deer Community and Program Facilitator-Sport, said a lack of volunteers led to the dissolution of the Sport Council.
“Certainly it was a struggle to get and maintain volunteers to be able to commit to keeping it up and running,” he said on Wednesday. “Although it was a challenge, we had the hard-core people who stuck around, but they also have lives. We just haven’t been able to get any kind of a jump start to get more people involved.
“Right down to the last few people, it was in the best interest to take the organization and maybe put it to rest for a little while. We’ll certainly look at a new way to bring it back and we’ve talked about using the (2019) Canada Winter Games and other programs that may be occurring because it needs to become more than just a sport awards organization, because that’s all it was doing.”
Gino Castellan, one of the original members who resigned two years ago, said the Sport Council was founded with the purpose of being a voice for amateur sport in Red Deer.
“Our mission was to be an active voice promoting the value of inclusive sports and their continued development in our community,” he added. “I think it served that purpose, but I know it just got to be too much for me and I had to take something off my plate.
“I understand it will be brought back in a different form, which is a good thing because it will absolutely serve a purpose. But people are busy and with something like this you have to dedicate time towards it.”
The SCoRD played a significant role in the delivery of the annual Community Sports Award banquet, which will not happen in the traditional way this year. Instead, a mix of sport promotion, recognition events and activities such as a Lifetime Sports Achievement Award luncheon will be staged in late September.
“Because of the success we had in August with the Red Deer is Ready rally, we’re going to create a Red Deer sport day in September and do a gigantic promotion of sport, focusing on, for example, biathlon, and Red Deer Minor Hockey and what they have to offer,” said Meckling. “We’ll really get a chance to showcase sports and at the same time look at that as an opportunity to show the new look of the sports awards, like the Lifetime Achievement.”
As part of the Council’s disbanding, remaining assets will be placed in trust with the Red Deer and District Community Foundation and be made available for future sport-related community initiatives.
Similar to groups in Edmonton, Calgary and Lethbridge, Meckling said a new Red Deer sport organization, in whatever form, will strive to become more of an advocate of sports and will work closely with sporting groups in the city.
“That’s our hope for the future, and we’re also looking at potentially doing a sports policy for Red Deer,” he said. “Certainly the timing is good with the Canada Games and facilities.
“That might be the way to get a new council started, but it will certainly have to be a different look.”