July 21, 2014 8:34 pm

Canada Games open house

Residents were invited to an open house to get information on the 2019 Canada Winter Games bid.

If anyone has any questions, now is the time.

Residents of Lethbridge were asked to come by the 2019 Canada Winter Games Committee display at City Hall for a whole day of Q&A. Stephen Neis is the Chair of the committee responsible for bringing the bid forward. “We want to make sure that if anyone has any questions about the bid process, about the games themselves, the venues that we’ve identified, anything; we want to be here to answer those questions for them firsthand.”

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The committee is making sure residents know exactly what to expect when it comes to hosting the national event. One popular question is an obvious one. What will people get out of hosting the games? Just like back when Lethbridge hosted the 1975 Canada Games and built the Enmax Centre (then called the Canada Games Sportsplex), new facilities will be constructed to be enjoyed long after the games are over. The biggest potential legacy pieces for the 2019 Canada Winter Games are the ‘Twin Arenas’. “Right now they’re slated to be located on the campus of the Lethbridge College,” says Neis. “They’re going to host the short track speed skating event and they would be a practice venue for other events.”

Along with brand new facilities, the Games are also expected to bring in excess of $100 million for the local economy and over one hundred hours of national broadcast exposure. The Canada Games Council is returning to Lethbridge on August 21st to get a final reading on preparations and, most importantly, public support. The Bid Committee says they’ve been overwhelmed by the show of support, already having approximately 2000 volunteers ready to go should the city win the bid. Their goal is to reach 4000 potential volunteers, but a greater number would be even better. With the big decision approaching, the committee says that community support is critical.

To help on that front, the city’s Youth Advisory Council is taking action. “We’ve had several of our members volunteer, looking for pledges of support and volunteers for the games,” says Daniel Rocca. “We’ve also just thrown around some ideas for council for what they can do to get more support.”

The decision for who will host the games is now between Lethbridge and Red Deer, the final announcement to be made sometime in September. Stephen Neis is confident that the community support on display will seal the deal. “Every time we go out there and we talk to people, the answer is ‘what can we do?’ And then when we tell them what to do they ask, ‘what more can I do?’ It’s just been a real good feeling.”

To sign up as a potential volunteer for the 2019 Canada Winter Games, visit lethbridge2019.ca and follow the links.

You can also follow @Lethbridge2019 on Twitter, and like their page on Facebook.

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