PENTICTON - With preparations to host next year’s B.C. Winter Games now underway, Penticton council last night set its sights on the 55+ B.C. Games for 2018 or 2019.
Penticton has received an invitation to bid on the 2017, 2018 or 2019 B.C. Senior Games, acting City Manager Chuck Loewen told council at the March 16 council meeting.
The games were last held in Penticton in 2004. A multi-sport event, the B.C. Senior Games were recently rebranded to the 55+ B.C. Games, Loewen said, but the society is still called the B.C. Seniors Games.
“The events have a dual role, it’s a great opportunity from a multi-sport competitive opportunity for 55+ B.C. residents and a unique opportunity for community development in B.C.,” Loewen said.
Loewen said benefits to the city included a multi-sport and community celebration that built pride, expansion of a trained volunteer base, an opportunity for a healthy, active lifestyle for seniors, opportunity for increased local tourism during the shoulder season and new sports, recreation and cultural projects. Loewen said the economic impact of the games in Penticton’s economy was estimated to be $2 million, in addition to a legacy fund.
The bid application would cost the city $60,000 in cash and an addition $55,000 in in-kind services and facilities from the city.
The community would also be required to raise between $100,000 and $200,000 cash and in-kind dontations to offset budget expenses and provide for a post-games legacy.
Loewen said the games would attract 3,500 to 4,000 participants, competing in up to 31 sports over four days of competition, from Tuesday to Saturday.
The games would operate on a basis similar to the B.C. Winter Games, led by a board of volunteer directors. A number of dates for the three possible years were available, in August or September, but the city would advocate for a shoulder season date in September.
Loewen also noted some possible impacts to consider, including the proximity of the games to the annual Penticton Challenge event, potential fundraising and volunteer limitations, again due to the proximity of dates, and collaboration and potential extension of the Dragon Boat Festival leading into the 55+ B.C. Games.
Loewen noted a tie-in with the games might be possible, as dragon boating was also a games event.
“I read on the agenda for Kelowna city council that they are considering the invitation as well, so we may be in competition with our northern neighbours,” Loewen said.
Council agreed unanimously to support and endorse a bid application for the city to host either the 2018 or 2019 55+ B.C. Games, approving the commitment of $60,000 cash and $55,000 in-kind services and facilities in order to plan and stage the games. The bid application is due June 26.
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