Penticton shut out on Seniors Games bid

Kamloops and Langley will play host to the 2013 and 2014 respective B.C. Seniors Games

  • Dec. 1, 2011 6:00 p.m.

When it comes to Seniors Games bids, you win some and you lose some — and Penticton and Summerland are learning about the latter right now.

The Ministry of Community, Sport and Cultural Development announced Tuesday that Kamloops and Langley will play host to the 2013 and 2014 respective B.C. Seniors Games, edging out the joint South Okanagan bid by Penticton and Summerland to host the event.

As far as Penticton’s future sports tourism prospects, one goal against does not mean the hometown team is out of the match.

“B.C. Senior Games is just one of a number of event opportunities we’re looking at,” said Jeff Plant, the city’s sports tourism co-ordinator.

Coming off the success of the successful bid with the Canadian Curling Association to host the 2013 Continental Cup, Plant said the city will be trying to do more events they have become known for much like the Young Stars or adventure racing, in addition to expanding the traditional definition of what sports might look like.

“We’re assessing all sorts of opportunities. I’m looking at things as diverse as UniCon, the world unicycle conference. It’s quite a cool opportunity that involves 600 unicyclists coming to compete at a variety of events,” he said.

“We’re always looking for new and exciting things to bring to the community.”

Burnaby is set to host the 2012 B.C. Seniors Games from Aug. 21 to 25, when as many as 1,500 local volunteers will dedicate time and effort to each of the 29 games events.

It’s estimated the B.C. Seniors Games brings in $2 million in economic activity to host communities, in addition to the $85,000 provided from the B.C. government through the B.C. Seniors Games Society.

Mayor Dan Ashton said that he hopes Penticton will be able to work with Summerland again on joint bids, given the northern neighbour’s amenities like Dale Meadows Park.

“Summerland has a very large sports complex, but we have more capacity for accommodation,” he said. “That’s how we sold this, and my hope is that we can do things in the future with larger soccer tournaments and larger ball tournaments.

“I’m disappointed, but hopefully we will be able to resubmit in a partnership. I thought it was a good proposal.”

Plant said Penticton last hosted the Seniors Games in 2004, which can have a “significant economic impact.” The city will likely submit bids to host the B.C. Winter Games, Special Olympics and other large provincial tournaments.

“They’re well-worth pursuing. Having said that, they’re also very challenging events to host because there are up to 29 separate events in the B.C. Seniors Games and requires over 1,200 volunteers. It’s a very significant undertaking and not something you take on lightly,” he said.

“So we’re disappointed, but not disillusioned. There’s a saying: the more you bid, the more you win.”