At the April 27 regular meeting Okotoks Council requested Administration send a letter to the Ministry of Culture, Multiculturalism and Status of Women from the Okotoks and Black Diamond Mayors, requesting the 2022 Alberta Summer Games be postponed to 2023.
Council also approved the recommendation to consider moving the games to 2023, and adjust the 2020 operating budget, by moving $200,000 out by one year to 2021.
Council also directed administration to gather information from key organizations that represent the business community, to determine the level of support for Okotoks to participate in the Summer Games.
“We appreciate why it is necessary for the games to be postponed and support the recommendation to send a letter to the province requesting that it be moved to 2023,” said Black Diamond Mayor Ruth Goodwin.
The towns of Black Diamond and Okotoks will present a revised bid by June 30, 2020 for both councils to consider, including potential cost saving measures. Administration will also present the feedback from key Okotoks organizations from the business community on the level of support local businesses have for the 2023 Summer Games.
“There is merit in taking a bit of time to determine whether the Town can still responsibly move forward with a bid on the Summer Games,” said Mayor Bill Robertson. “Provided we can make necessary amendments, both in terms of time and a fiscal perspective, these games have the potential to inject much needed dollars into our local business, showcase Okotoks as a place to invest in, and bring the community together for a positive event for our youth.”
Should the Towns continue with a bid and be successfully awarded hosting the Games in 2023, the additional year would allow the community 3 years to recover from the effects of COVID-19, enhance community social resiliency, and provide the committee with additional time to fundraise.
Don Wilson, Director, Multisport Games, Alberta Culture, Multiculturalism and Status of Women, has confirmed that the Ministry is open to consider pushing the 2022 Alberta Summer Games back to 2023.Administration was also advised that the Ministry may be open to receiving a revised bid to capture any cost saving measures A formal letter requesting the Ministry consider any changes is required from community mayors.
Administration is confident if the Ministry allows for budget adjustments and additional time to prepare for the Games, that the original proposed format of the bid submission can be scaled back, reducing the overall cost requirements while allowing additional time to fundraise for the 2023 Games.
In June 2019, the Towns of Okotoks and Black Diamond submitted a proposal to host the 2022 Alberta Summer Games.
No announcement of the selected host community for the 2022 Summer Games has been made as of yet. The announcement has been rescheduled several times since September 2019. With the recent announcement of the delay of the 2020 Lethbridge games and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, announcement details have once again been delayed.
Hosting this event is expected to bring more than 3,000 athletes and their families, coaches and spectators to the community.