Council has voted to move forward with plans to host the games, by a count of 8-1.
Wood Buffalo was given the event, back on January 14th of this year, but due to the wildfire concerns started to appear that the communities and recreational facilities wouldn’t be ready to host a big event.
“I think that it gives us a chance to come and give us a venue to come together,” said Councillor Phil Meagher. “In our rebuilding process there are people around willing to get together in a committee and do this.”
Back on June 8th council had approved a motion that the Alberta Winter Games Host society and the Region Municipality of Wood Buffalo would conduct a 60 day assessment of the damage done.
Over the time of June 21 and July 6 the host society asked 200 residents and around 60 stakeholders to see their opinion if they believed the region would be ready to host in under two years time. Given a simple yes and no question, 88 percent of Stakeholders answered yes while just 49 percent of residents did.
” I think as things carry along that would probably go up, I think anything over 40 percent would be good in this situation,” said Meagher. ”
“As a municipality we we’re just back in business for just a couple of days when we did the survey, pressure was high and tensions we’re happening,” said Co-Chair of the Host Society Amanda Mercer.
In those 15 days of gathering all information, they received full support from the 2018 AWG Board of Directors and full confidence that they had enough to move forward.
“It was really the sports organizations that said we’re here, we’re back, we’re in support,” said Mercer.
Not all the comments on the matter were positive as Councillor Tyran Ault was the only one present who opposed the idea. His reasoning was concerns over cost and the economy. he did mention quickly that he knows this will be a great positive but still has those concerns.
Some members of the public weren’t too quick to get excited as they also saw concerns on the cost and if this was necessary when the estimated time to rebuild all the neighborhoods has been pegged to finish a year after.
While the concerns we’re being raised Councillor Meagher took the time to explain what he believes the games are truly for.
” This is for the kids and why should our kids miss out on something because of something that happened in our community, kids need this they need an outlet.”
The next step coming for the society is trying to fill the Games Manager Position while starting to review and plan in more detail.