Brandon will have to work a little faster to get its 2017 Canada Summer Games bid ready after the Canada Games Council moved up the deadlines for a one-bid city process.
“We weren’t going to find out until well into the spring (of 2013), and we weren’t going to formally bid until January,” said Jeff Cristall, chairman of the Brandon bid committee.
Now the bid is due July 30, almost six months earlier than originally scheduled, with a deadline to submit technical review information to the Canada Games Council by May 31. Cristall said the committee was prepared for that possibility.
“We have had the consultants the city hired months ago coaching us through this process and we were told if this wasn’t a competitive bid, the process will change,” Cristall said. “Because we are not competing with anyone, we don’t have to be as impressive. We have to show them all the basics, but we have to be above the bar now, not above the guideline behind us. It’s not like we haven’t done this before.”
If Brandon is named host city for the 2017 Canada Summer Games, it will be the only city to have hosted a Canada Games event three times.
The technical review information, due in a matter of weeks, means the bid committee has to show where they plan to host the events, what the venues look like and list what work is required to bring them up to Canada Games standards. The same day the Canada Games Council released the new bid deadlines, the main pool line broke at the Sportsplex, forcing the city to drain the pool and shut down the aquatic facility temporarily. It’s not known whether that will have an impact on the Brandon bid.
“We don’t know yet whether they will accept the Sportsplex or whether they will tell us to use one of the alternatives,” Cristall said. “That’s part of the negotiation that will take place over the next couple of months to kind of look around. Officially, (the Canada Games Council bid evaluation committee) will look around in September and will make decisions then. We don’t know if they will accept the Sportsplex, regardless of what we do with it.”
Cristall said he’s not aware of any extra money to rebuild the Sportsplex pool, adding, “I don’t know where that money would come from. It’s certainly not in our budget.”
The diving events are already slated to go somewhere else, likely the Pan Am Pool in Winnipeg, which already has the facilities to allow high tower diving.
“Whether they do more than diving there, we’re not going to jump off that bridge until we come to it,” Cristall said. “They know of the challenges at the Sportsplex and they are dedicated to work with us and to work with Swim Canada and we’ll see what we can work out.”
Cristall said if swimming events are relocated to Winnipeg, it will affect the Games experience those athletes have, either because they miss out on the Athletes’ Village experience by staying elsewhere, or by spending four to five hours a day on a bus.
“We have always known the Sportsplex is one of our elephants and it’s up to whether we can put enough lipstick on it or whether we need an alternative or whether it’s a dealbreaker. We still don’t know that.”
The Brandon Sun requested an interview with Manitoba Sport Minister Eric Robinson about the state of the Sportsplex pool, but he was not available at press time.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition May 16, 2012