The City of Brandon’s bid for the 2017 Canada Summer Games has been rejected.
Mayor Shari Decter Hirst made the official announcement "with deep regret" Thursday afternoon.
"(I’m) very disappointed in that it was a wonderful opportunity for the community," Decter Hirst said.
Members of the 2017 Summer Games bid committee worked for more than a year on the bid. Roughly $250,000 was spent on bid preparation, travelling to the games in Halifax, as well as engineering and consulting reports.
"We have asked that the city be reimbursed for that $250,000 and we’ll wait and see what happens with that," Decter Hirst said.
The main reason the Canada Games Council rejected Brandon’s bid was the lack of an indoor eight-lane, 50-metre pool, which is the national standard. The Sportsplex pool has six lanes.
"Unfortunately … we could just never get over some real hurdles," Decter Hirst said. "We had provided several different options for the Canada Games to try and find a way of getting around this, to see if we couldn’t come up with a solution that would work for us both … Unfortunately, they weren’t interested in either the outdoor pool option or the option of having the aquatic events in Winnipeg."
Upgrading the Sportsplex to national standards would cost upwards of $25 million, according to the mayor.
"That wasn’t in the City of Brandon’s recreational plan," bid committee chair Jeff Cristall said. "Doing that would have given us something at the end of the day we as a community did not think was our priority … Redoing the Sportsplex pool for the amount of money it would have cost didn’t make sense."
Brandon was the only Manitoba community to submit a bid for the games.
Cristall said it is "extremely disheartening" to learn that the Canada Games Council could not share their vision for what the games could be in Brandon and Westman.
"I just want to say how proud I am of certainly everyone who was involved in this process," he said.
"At this end, we did absolutely everything we could do, to try to put on the games, to put the bid forward in a manner that was sensible."
Although it’s disappointing news, Decter Hirst did say there were positive outcomes from the bid preparation.
"Certainly a lot of tangible things came out of that analysis, in terms of some of the engineering studies," she said.
"We’ve got a very good marketing package put together and those kinds of things, so there was value in the experience as well …thinking about the city hosting a national level event and what that would mean to hotels and traffic and security."
It’s likely that the 2017 Summer Games will instead be held in Winnipeg.
Sport Manitoba has been asked by the province to assist in forming a bid group to look at options.
Canada Games Council spokesman Patrick Kenny said a deadline of Jan. 30 has been given to the province to come back with another option.
"At this point no other options, other than a Manitoba-based games have been reviewed," he said.
"It’s in the hands of the province."
In a press release issued late Thursday, Sport Manitoba said the province asked it to assist in forming a new bid team to look at options for hosting the Games in Manitoba.
"The Canada Games is an extraordinary event that plays an important role in developing Manitoba’s athletes and coaches, while showcasing our province to the country," Sport Manitoba president and CEO, Jeff Hnatiuk said.
An initial team of community representatives has been put together to begin discussions with potential partners to build a bid proposal.
The new bid team anticipates a proposal process that will end with a bid to the Canada Games Council in the spring of 2013.