The Municipal District (MD) of Bonnyville will not bid on the 2024 Alberta Summer/Winter games but is open to hosting a future event when more time is available to properly plan for such a large event.
On March 9, during the regular MD Council meeting, CAO Al Hoggan presented to Council that Administration recognizes the potentially significant economic benefits of hosting this event in our region however, they do not believe they would have the capacity to take on such a large and costly event themselves with only one and half years for planning and coordination.
“Due to the short notice for submitting a bid to host the 2024 games, getting sufficient information and expressions of support would be a challenge,” CAO Hoggan said. “Administration has also not had sufficient time to gather and provide Council with information regarding overall costs, potential revenues or expenses, facility assessments, and/or cost-sharing or other required agreements with either the Town of Bonnyville or the City of Cold Lake. For these reasons, Administration cannot recommend to Council to move forward with submitting a bid for the 2024 Alberta Games.”
However, the idea of hosting a future Alberta Summer/Winter games is not off the table.
“Administration would however suggest to Council since the games are regularly held every two years, that Administration begin the process of fully vetted financial research with a financial plan, a facility assessment to determine additional facility costs required to host the games and put in place the necessary cost and revenue sharing agreements with the Town of Bonnyville and the City of Cold Lake for either the 2026 or 2028 Alberta Games,” CAO Hoggan said.
During the discussion about the Alberta Summer/Winter games, Ward 2 Councillor Darcy Skarsen said, “My heart wants to say yes, let’s go for it right now.”
“My head agrees with the recommended action. I would say, more importantly, it’s you know, I think we need to form a committee of sorts that looks at more than even just a summer games but you know, there’s opportunities of all sorts to host and we spent for years and years now, time and money and in building facilities, we really need to start showing off,” Councillor Skarsen said in the meeting.
The M.D. of Bonnyville previously hosted the 2010 Alberta Winter Games in partnership with the City of Cold Lake, the Town of Bonnyville, and CFB 4 Wing Cold Lake. The formal bid for that event was submitted in 2007 which allowed over two years for the coordination of the event.
This coordination and event planning was done through the Lakeland Region Games Committee which was formed specifically for the 2010
Games and included over ten Sub-Committees and was comprised of several members of each community as well as representatives from each partnering municipality.
“I completely agree with Councillor Darcy Skarsen,” CAO Hoggan said. “There was a committee set up for the 2007 bid, that committee doesn’t seem to exist anymore. Most municipalities when they put together these games are done by external committees as opposed to being managed by the municipality. So I actually think there is a place to put together the committee for the games. I also completely agree with Councillor Skarsen that a committee that would look at maybe it’s just not Winter Games, maybe it’s hosting big provincials. Maybe it’s, I mean, pie in the sky. Maybe it’s the Brier. I think a committee that could focus on those details and then come to council and come to the municipalities saying this is the support we need from the municipality as opposed to it being an initiative led by the municipality. It could be a citizen-led initiative that we support behind the scenes, with people and finances.”
MD Council decided against entering a bid to host the Alberta 2024 Winter or Summer games and directed the Administration to bring back information on the possibility of making a bid for the games in 2026 or 2028.