Tournament Capital vying for B.C. Winter Games

The B.C. Games Society - responsible for staging the provincial summer and winter games - will likely decide which bid wins by December

Marty Hastings

Kamloops This Week

Kamloops has bid on the 2016 and 2018 B.C. Winter Games (BCWG).

“We’d be willing to bid on either 2016 or 2018,” said Jeff Putnam, the city’s sport development and business operations manager.

“We wanted to keep our options open.”

Proposals were submitted for the 2016 and 2018 BCWG by Kamloops, Abbotsford and Penticton.

Each city can only host one of the Games up for bid.

“Abbotsford has invested tens of millions in new facilities and Penticton is the same,” Putnam said. “We’ve got some really stiff competition.

“Having said that, we think our reputation as being a fantastic tournament host could give us the edge.”

The B.C. Games Society – responsible for staging the provincial summer and winter games – will likely decide which bid wins by December, according to Lia Threlfall, the organization’s communications and event manager.

Putnam said the cost of hosting the Games is covered by the province, which kicks in $525,000, and the city, which adds a minimum of $45,000 cash and $50,000 in kind.

The Games are expected to provide between $2.5 million and $3 million in economic impact to the city.

Athletes competing will range in age from 10 to 19.

“The athletes are a little bit younger and they tend to have lots of family coming through the community,” Putnam said.

A bid proposal obtained by KTW showed the bid committee is comprised of the city’s Tournament Capital co-ordinator Sean Smith, Tourism Kamloops CEO Lee Morris, Sun Peaks Resort marketing director Anne Haight, PacificSport Interior BC general manager Carolynn Boomer and Putnam.

Letters of support were submitted to B.C. Games Society CEO Kelly Mann and by several dignitaries, including Kamloops Mayor Peter Milobar, Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo MP Cathy McLeod, Kamloops-North Thompson MLA Terry Lake and Kamloops-South Thompson MLA Kevin Krueger.

Other letters of support were provided by the Okanagan region of Skate Canada’s B.C.-Yukon Territories branch, Tourism Kamloops, the Kamloops Judo Club, the Kamloops Gymnastics Trampoline Centre, the Kamloops Long Blades, the Kamloops Minor Hockey Association, the Kamloops Skating Club, the Kamloops Target Sports Association, B.C. Netball, McArthur Island Curling Club, Overlander Ski Club, Barriere Netball Club, the Thompson Okanagan Ringette League, Pacific Sport Interior BC, Sun Peaks Resort, the Kamloops Storm, the Western Karate Academy, the Sun Peaks Alpine Club, School District No. 73 and CUPE Local 3500.

Proposed sport venues include the Tournament Capital Centre (gymnastics), the Thompson Rivers University gym (badminton), McArthur Island Sports Centre (curling, figure skating and speed skating), Interior Savings Centre (hockey and ringette), Memorial Arena (hockey), Sun Peaks (alpine and freestyle skiing and biathlon), Stake Lake Ski Trails (cross-country skiing), South Kamloops secondary (judo and karate), Pacific Way elementary (archery) and NorKam secondary (netball).

SD73 would provide 25 buses to transport athletes and officials throughout the Games and 10 city transit buses would be available to pitch in for the opening and closing ceremonies.

SD73 resolved to provide school facilities for competition and accommodation, buses and, if necessary, a two-day school closure for the Thursday and Friday of the Games.

The bid proposal outlines as accommodation venues NorKam secondary, South Kamloops secondary, Brocklehurst secondary, Kay Bingham elementary, Valleyview secondary and Pacific Way elementary.

CUPE 3500 will give its members the opportunity to volunteer. Bus drivers and custodians to maintain schools will likely be required.

The bid proposal suggests the Tournament Capital Centre fieldhouse is an ideal venue for the opening and closing ceremonies, the accreditation centre and the Main Medical Clinic.

The TRU Grand Hall is earmarked as a suitable food-service area.

Cunliffe House, located in downtown Kamloops across from Interior Savings Centre, is pegged as Games headquarters.

“We’re definitely confident we’ll get them, but we’re cautiously optimistic,” Putnam said.

“We’ve got premier facilities.”