Let the Games begin!
The tri-city bid for the 2011 B.C. Senior Games was successful, meaning Castlegar, Trail and Nelson will play host to 3,500 athletes in 29 sporting events, generating an estimated $2- to $3-million direct economic impact for the region.
Castlegar recreation director Jim Crockett said it’s an exciting opportunity to showcase the individual communities as well as the region as a whole, not to mention a demonstration of how effectively the three cities can pull together for their collective benefit.
Along with roughly 3,500 athletes aged 55 and up, will be their families and friends, as well as spectators coming to watch the events – most of whom will be eating in local restaurants, sleeping in local hotels, motels and campgrounds, and shopping in local stores.
The Games, to be held from Aug. 16 to 20, will require the help of about 1,200 volunteers, he added.
“Now that we’ve been awarded the bid, we’ll get started on creating a board of directors,” he said, explaining this volunteer board of roughly15 to 20 directors will oversee teams of volunteers addressing everything from entertainment to division of events between the three cities, using the recreation departments from all three communities as a resource in their efforts.
Crockett encouraged residents to start thinking about getting involved, so they’re ready to step up to the plate when the call for help goes out – which it will, in short order, he added.
The province, according to a Dec. 1 announcement from B.C. Minister of Healthy Living and Sport Ida Chong, will kick in $85,000 toward the anticipated $350,000 cost of hosting the events, and the rest will come from participant fees and fundraising.
Castlegar mayor Lawrence Chernoff said he’s thrilled to be part of such a coup for the area.
“This allows active seniors from B.C. to come see the West Kootenays; to see what we really have to offer, as a community and as a region,” he said. “I think people will enjoy what they see here when they come for the Games, and I think they’ll end up coming back again and again.”