Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Brandon hopes to host 2017 Canada Games

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BRANDON -- Organizers have signed, sealed and delivered their bid package for the 2017 Canada Summer Games.

"I think we have had very good discussions with the Canada Games Council around our venues and we have strong support around at council and in the community about the bid," Brandon Mayor Shari Decter Hirst said. "I'm sure we will have ongoing dialogue with the Canada Games committee once they receive our formal bid."

The next stage of the bid process will include meetings in Brandon with representatives from the Canada Games Council and national sport organizations to discuss the bid.

"This is a perfect opportunity for us to refresh our facilities," DecteràHirst said. "Not only will we then be able to host national events, but the people in the community and region will have outstanding facilities to use."

Bid committee chairman Jeff Cristall noted the bid does not guarantee the Games will go to Brandon, because the Canada Games Council likely has a Plan B if Brandon's facilities don't meet the required standard.

"It's kind of like yours to lose and you have to win that race," Cristall said. "What we did was balance off the urge to do everything it took to get the Games with being responsible," Cristall said.

"We did an awful lot of work to ensure we could host it and have facilities Brandon and western Manitoba cared about after we were done, and we weren't doing it in such a way that the financial risk to put on these Games was great. We're going to do this if we can do it western Manitoba's way. We aren't going to do this just to say we did it."

City treasurer Dean Hammond said the city's $3-million share of the $9-million capital budget will likely come from a loan taken out with a payment schedule in the neighbourhood of 10 years.

Hammond defended the investment in recreational facilities as spending $3 million to get $9 million to repair facilities the city already uses.

"That money would have to come out of city finances, whether there was a Games here or not," Hammond said.

The Sportsplex track and building is expected to receive $5 million in upgrades while the remaining $4 million will be spent to refurbish other facilities.

Decter Hirst said the Sportsplex renovation already has gained a $1-million commitment from the provincial government to complete mechanical system upgrades.

 

-- Brandon Sun

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 28, 2012 A14

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