City ponders B.C. Senior Games bid

Bid would need support from tourism, accommodation sectors.

The City of Cranbrook is considering putting in a bid to host the 2015 or 2016 B.C. Senior Games. Council’s push will go ahead if it hears a positive endorsement from the business community.

The games require a $60,000 contribution from the city, as well as $55,000 in in-kind support, to help in the costs of hosting the games.

City staff recommended moving ahead with the application as long as there is support from the accommodation and tourism sector. Staff hopes the sector can help with the development of the bid package.

Mayor Wayne Stetski said the investment sounds like a good opportunity for the city.

“Most recently, the benefits have been around $2 million to the communities that have hosted them,” Stetski said.

Coun. Gerry Warner said the whole thing revolves around the active involvement of the tourism sector and so council should hold off on any decisions until it hears back from tourism.

“Nobody can predict the future,” Warner said. “Do we know if we will get this active involvement? Things are stretched pretty tight right now.”

Kevin Weaver, the city’s economic development officer said that staff is looking for some sort of formal sign off that they will support the push for the games. He said there were some concerns around the 2008 Winter Games, held in Cranbrook and Kimberley,  that the tourism sector had not been engaged prior to a bid, so staff is making sure to address those concerns.

Coun. Diana J. Scott said that there is no danger of moving ahead with the application.

“I think it’s early stages yet,” Scott said. “It’s just, do we want to do it or do we not want to do it?”

Scott said she thinks the investment is worth it. She alluded to the success of the 2011 Canada Cup of Curling in Cranbrook and the 2008 B.C. Winter Games.

She said the city has the volunteers and wouldn’t need as many as in the winter games.

Coun. Angus Davis said he supports the move wholly and reiterated the point about these games being easier to manage.

CAO Wayne Staudt said that currently the city doesn’t have the $60,000 in its five-year plan, so the council of the day in 2015 or 2016 will have to decide to add it to its five-year plan.

Davis said he knows quite a few people who participate in the senior games.

“People really, really look forward to coming to these games,” Davis said. “It’s not a rough deal. It’s a good deal and I just hope that we can do it.”

Warner said he agreed with making the bid as long as council was not making its final decision right away.

Council voted to move the application forward contingent on the support and involvement of the accommodation and tourism sector.