For the first time in recent history the City of Penticton will work with the District of Summerland to try and bring a sporting event to the region.
The Penticton and Wine Country Tourism Team has submitted a joint bid on behalf of the two municipalities to host the 2014 B.C. Seniors Games.
If the bid is successful, Penticton has agreed to commit $45,000 to the event as well as provide in-kind support of services and facilities with an estimated value of $41,250. Summerland will also provide similar contributions.
Mayor Dan Ashton said the joint bid is an important step towards regional co-operation.
“It is the first time in my memory that we are working in conjunction with another municipality,” said Ashton. “In my opinion this is what the future is going to hold for a lot of these (major events) because of the accommodation needs and the (need for the) utilization of the fields.
“Penticton and Summerland have many excellent venues to host the various events and the economic benefits to both communities will be substantial.”
Ashton said the games would bring a substantial number of people to the area for the duration of the event.
“I think it’s a positive step in the right direction for the future and will benefit both communities and all communities around us (with) the number of athletes that are talking about coming,” he said. “I don’t think there will be a hotel room from the border to West Kelowna.”
An annual multi-sport event, the B.C. Seniors Games is one of the largest provincial games with approximately 3,500 participants, aged 55 and over, from all over the province.
First organized in 1987, the games’ society aims to encourage sport and recreation development for seniors in an effort to improve “the quality of life for older British Columbians.”
Ashton said Penticton shares those goals, and that bringing the games to the region would benefit local seniors.
“Council supports active participation by seniors in sports, recreation and fitness and the sense of community spirit it provides,” he said.
This year the games will be hosted in Trail-Castlegar-Nelson. The successful bid for both the 2013 and 2014 B.C. Senior’s Games will be announced Sept. 30.