Coquitlam looks at hosting BC Summer Games

Coquitlam is now preparing bid packages to host the 2016 and 2018 BC Summer Games. - COURTESY OF BC GAMES
Coquitlam is now preparing bid packages to host the 2016 and 2018 BC Summer Games.
— image credit: COURTESY OF BC GAMES

Coquitlam will go for the BC Summer Games in 2016 — and, if it doesn't win, the city has a backup bid for 2018.

On Monday, city council unanimously voted to proceed with a package for both events, though at least one city councillor said the earlier date would be better as 2016 is not only the city's 125th birthday but the Evergreen Line is scheduled to open that summer.

Coun. Craig Hodge, who heads up the city's sports council, said the opening of rapid-transit terminus at Town Centre Park would be a nice tie-in as the many of the athletes would compete at and around Percy Perry Stadium.

"It would be an exciting year for us if we won it," said Hodge, a former Tri-Cities' Chamber of Commerce president, after the council meeting.

If successful in 2016, 3,700 athletes — most of them aged between 13 and 15 — would descend on Coquitlam between July 21 and 24 to compete in 22 sports.

In her presentation to council, Joyce Fordyce, Coquitlam's recreation manager, spoke of the spin-offs the city would gain by organizing the games, noting the $2.6 million in economic development that Kelowna reaped by hosting the 2008 four-day summer competition.

As well, she said, the games would be a launching point for the city's new sports tourism strategy and it would highlight new and upgraded venues like the Poirier Sports and Leisure Complex and Chimo Pool.

Still, before the bid packages are finalized, the city would need to secure agreements with School District 43 and the neighbouring communities of Port Coquitlam and Port Moody, she said.

Mayor Richard Stewart, who competed in the first BC Summer Games in Penticton, winning gold in water polo, said the city wants to recapture that magic that happened in 1991 when Coquitlam hosted the BC Summer Games and BC Seniors Games.

But Coun. Lou Sekora, who was mayor at the time, said city staff need to put an organizing committee together quickly so city managers aren't bogged down by the games management. Coun. Neal Nicholson, who was the 1991 seniors games' treasurer, added he wants to see a proposed budget before anything is submitted (city council this week endorsed in its 2012 budget $70,000 for the bids).

To date, Fordyce said, a number of local groups have signed up to back the bid such as the Sports Centre User Association, Coquitlam Sports Hall of Fame, Coquitlam Aquatics User Group, Coquitlam Field Sport Association, Tri-Cities' Chamber of Commerce and Douglas College; several Tri-City athletes have also pledged to be champions, including Olympians Chris Wilson and Leah Pells, and retired BC Lions' kicker Lui Passaglia.

The deadline for both the summer and winter games' bids in 2016 and 2018 is Sept. 10 though no applications have been received to date, a BC Games spokesperson said; a decision on the successful cities will be made in November.

The 2012 BC Winter Games in Greater Vernon, which were sponsored in part by Black Press, the parent company to The Tri-City News, ended last week with 1,145 athletes and 2,400 volunteers taking part in 15 sports. The 2012 BC Summer Games will be hosted by Surrey while the 2014 summer and winter games will be held in Nanaimo and Mission, respectively.





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