Airdrie’s bid for the summer games has been successful.
The announcement was made by Christine Cusanelli, Alberta’s minister of tourism, parks and recreation, at Genesis Place, June 13.
“I am proud to announce that Airdrie has been chosen to host the 2014 Alberta Summer Games,” said Cusanelli to a cheering crowd of community leaders, students and residents. “I have no doubt the Summer Games in Airdrie will be a great success.”
More than 3,000 athletes, coaches and officials will take part in the Games, which feature youth ages 11 to 17. Athletes will compete in traditional summer sports such as basketball, swimming and beach volleyball.
The announcement was good news for Mayor Peter Brown.
“I think it’s outstanding for Airdrie,” he said. “It’s going to be a great opportunity to showcase who we are, what we do, what our city is all about. We have the volunteer base and we have the interest. It’s... very exciting.”
Summer Games Bid Committee Chair Dan Oneil said 1,000 hours went into Airdrie’s bid. He said the next step will be for council to choose a Summer Games Committee to plan the four-day event. Oneil, who is the former mayor of Airdrie, said organizers are expecting a $3 to $5 million spinoff from the games.
“More importantly is the sense of accomplishment Airdrie will get,” he said. “The games will strengthen Airdrie’s self-knowledge that we can do this stuff, that we can put on first-class and large events like this.”
According to Brown, residents and businesses will benefit from the Games.
“We have the facilities… we are becoming a sports tourism destination,” said Brown. “It’s great for local business, hotel rooms will be full, restaurants will be full… a lot of good things come from these types of things.”
Brown added work will begin right away on planning the Games.
“Big events like this are going to require a huge commitment from our city services… and we are going to need thousands of volunteers over that four-day period,” he said.
The Games, which are held every two years in communities across Alberta, are operated by the Alberta Sport, Recreation, Parks and Wildlife Foundation on behalf of the Alberta Government. The foundation will provide an operating grant of $300,000, a legacy grant of $50,000 and a cultural grant of $70,000 for the games.
During the announcement event, which featured George McDougall High School’s jazz band, ATCO Gas also announced they will be a major sponsor for the Games.
Cusanelli said Airdrie was chosen because of its commitment to family and active living.
“(Airdrie) has a facility that is able to accommodate all kinds of ages, groups, different abilities, and I think that is outstanding,” she said.
“Airdrie has really shown itself to be an active, involved community. This is a community that has embraced family values and they should be very proud of the opportunity that has just been bestowed upon them. This is going to be wonderful for them, and I think they are truly deserving of this.”