April 24th, 2018

City council supports Alberta Games bid


By Schnarr, J.W. on January 9, 2018.

Zone 1 Sunny Souths Nolan Miller and Zone 4 Parklands Grant Johnson battle for the ball during a soccer game as part of the Alberta Summer Games hosted in Lethbridge in 2012. Herald file photo by David Fuller

J.W. Schnarr

Lethbridge Herald

jwschnarr@lethbridgeherald.com

Lethbridge City Council threw their support behind a local bid for the 2020 Alberta Summer Games to the tune of $250,000.

Council voted to grant the request during their regular meeting on Monday. Included is $150,000 in cash and $100,000 in-kind funding. The money comes from the Major Community Event Hosting grant.

Also included was a request for a letter of support from council and the inclusion of a legacy plan for future sport development.

The request was made by Lethbridge Sport Council and the Alberta Sport Development Centre – Southwest.

Susan Eymann, executive director with the LSC, said the decision was good news for their efforts to bring the games to the city.

“When we contacted the sports groups, they were taking our calls, and they were excited about us looking to host the event here in 2020,” she said.

The games provide an opportunity to benefit not just the athletes, but nearly anyone involved in any capacity.

“It’s not just wonderful for the athletes, and gives them motivation for competing at a games and here in Lethbridge,” Eymann said. “It’s also great to help strengthen the sport organizations and their programming.”

On top of creating a large stage for local athletes to perform – and there could be hundreds of them – there is also an opportunity for spinoff benefits for local sports organizations. Some of them may see upgrades to their facilities in order to prepare for the rigours of the games.

The event is also a developmental pathway for coaches and officials, and anyone else involved.

“From a grassroots level, working towards Canada Games and high performance, this is a great opportunity for Lethbridge,” said Eymann.

During discussion, Coun. Jeff Carlson expressed concern over the amount of money available in the grant.

“The Major Community Event Grant is running dry,” he said.

Following discussion, council passed a motion to make an ammendment that any surplus funds available after the games be returned to the Major Community Event Hosting Grant up to $125,000. Anything over and above that amount could be used for legacy projects and local sport development.

The amendment passed 5-1 with Coun. Rob Miyashiro voting against.

“I can certainly see where the City is coming from to help replenish that (grant),” said Eymann. “That is what allows organizations to bid for sport events in Lethbridge.”

Eymann said a legacy from previous games will be used to prepare local athletes for the 2020 Games, should Lethbridge be granted the event.

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