Categories: Local SportsSports

Trail celebrates BC Games’ 40th year

Greater Trail’s BC Games Society is shouting out to past athletes, coaches, volunteers, and organizers to come out and celebrate the Games’ 40th birthday party on Sept. 6.

Trail hosted the BC Winter Games in 1982 and 2006, and played co-host with Castlegar to the BC Summer Games in 1996 with hundreds of athletes, coaches, volunteers and organizers playing a vital part in the Games’ success. Trail is one of just six BC cities selected to celebrate the milestone, and its theme “Remember. Recognize. Renew.” is the calling card as local organizers look for a good turnout at the celebration on the Esplanade in three weeks.

“We are working hard to create a social gathering for all who have participated in the Games in the past at any level,” said organizer Sue Bock, the Games Society Director and 40th Anniversary Committee Chair. “The White Garden and park is the space for the evening, but the true value for the evening will be everyone mingling and sharing old stories; remembering the fun and the challenges of hosting and participating in the games, recognizing the dedication and hard work of those who go beyond the call of duty to ensure youth have access to multi-sport events such as the Games but also strong sport systems to support athletic excellence and success, and finally, our goal is for everyone to renew their passion and commitment to sport.”

Part of the BC Games legacy is the benefits that communities receive from hosting the Summer and Winter events. The most recent Games in Cowichan Valley on Vancouver Island received a $40,000 grant from the BC Games Society’s Powering Potential Fund to make upgrades to its Quamichan Lake rowing dock, install new starting blocks for the Cowichan Aquatic Centre, a new mat for the Cowichan Wrestling Club and add portable bike racks for Triathlon BC.

“What happens is the Games (society) comes in and meets with the new board of each Games,” explained Bock. “They do a site venue tour and they walk around and identify all the areas and things that need to be met in terms of standards and then they figure out how they’re going to come up with money to do that.”

Trail’s Haley Park track was resurfaced for the ‘96 Summer Games courtesy of a BC government grant, and funds generated from the Games went right back into the community.

“Whatever money is made above our operating costs gets split between BC Games Society and half goes into the local economy. So the boards at every Games then gets to look at the legacy they’ve collected, and figure out how that will be specifically spent going forward.”

BC Games president and CEO Kelly Mann confirmed that in ‘96 $142,000 was shared by the society and Trail’s and Castlgar’s sports and rec, and the 2006 Trail Winter Games legacy of $70,000.00 was provided to the LeRoi Foundation to support athletes.

On average, the BC Summer Games generates about $2.4 million per event, while the Winter Games makes about $1.8 million in direct spending.

The grassroots, community-based approach that BC pioneered to support athletes and coaches in achieving their goals is unique, and clearly successful. The BC Games developed a standard that other provinces endeavour to duplicate, and the results speak for themselves. At the the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea in February, 225 athletes represented Team Canada and 63 of those athletes, a remarkable 28 per cent, had a connection to B.C.

The results are a testament to the BC Games coaching and athlete development and the work of Mann and his staff.

“The protocals, the process, and the work that Kelly (Mann) has done and his staff through the years to create this consistent, very doable process is pretty outstanding when they are compared against other provinces, they are the model to follow,” added Bock.

In conjunction with the Games’ 40th anniversary, the BC Games Society, Sport BC, and KidSport BC have partnered to create a platform for the Community Sports Hero Awards. The Awards recognize coaches, officials, mentors and administrators who have dedicated themselves to amateur sport in Greater Trail, and will be presented at the celebration. Nominations for Greater Trail’s sports heroes will be accepted up to two weeks prior to the event.

As for the Sept. 6 celebration, refreshments and snacks will be served at the White Garden starting at 6:30 p.m. with speeches from various dignitaries going from 7:15-7:45 p.m., including 2016 Olympic Race Walker Evan Dunfee and the BC Games president, Mann, who is retiring this fall after 26 years with the BC Games Society.

The Teck sponsored event will see Duffy visit area schools before giving the special address at the celebration.

Attendees are required to register and can RSVP at www.bcgames.org/40th or at www.eventbrite.ca/e/bc-games-40th-anniversary-trail-tickets. Tickets are $5 with all proceeds and donations shared by the Powering Potential Fund and Trail KidSport.

The inaugural BC Summer Games was held in Penticton in 1978 and the first BC Winter Games held the following year in Kamloops.

Jim Bailey

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