North Battleford Mayor Ryan Bater took the opportunity during council Monday to commend the hard working volunteers who came through in time to reach the 1,200 goal for the Saskatchewan Winter Games.
The seven-day event wrapped up Feb. 24 with a closing ceremony at the Civic Centre.
“It was an amazing week,” Bater said. “I think people in and around the Battlefords should be proud of the effort that was put forward... I can’t say enough thanks to the sponsors, (and) to the over 1,200 volunteers.
“Some people have been working for over two years on that event. It was a great unifier of the community. A lot of people came forward to deliver an excellent and memorable experience for all of the young athletes who were competing.”
The mayor said by all accounts the games was a success and “sure makes me proud to see the community come together that way.”
Bater said he is especially pleased with how the games helped boost the city’s reputation overall.
“This is on the heels of a number of years now of successful events,” he said. “This was absolutely well executed. I think it really speaks to our capacity and ability to deliver major events in the Battlefords. Not just because we have exceptional facilities, but because we have organizational capacity and volunteers who are willing to get involved.”
He went on to say the future is “very bright” for the city’s ability to host events.
Bater added for many sport governing bodies, the Battlefords is now on their radar where it might not have been before.
The Saskatchewan Games Legacy Program provided matching funding of $250,000 for facility upgrades and major equipment purchases for North Battleford to host the event. David Schell, 2018 Saskatchewan Winter Games organizing committee co-chair, confirmed the city fundraised to cover its share.
As a result the total $500,000 in funding was used to make a number of upgrades to facilities and purchase equipment for the city to host the games. Work included overhead curling cameras being installed at the Northland Power Curling Centre, new building start gates for alpine skiing matches at Table Mountain, new back entrance doors were installed at the Civic Centre to improve accessibility and capacity, new wrestling and judo mats were purchased for the Comprehensive High School for competitive matches, and a sound system was installed at the Aquatic Centre, among the upgrades.
"The games won't be forgotten because of all these legacy items that made our facilities even better," said Schell.
Separate local funding raised through sponsorship and other contributions to run the games also surpassed organizers' goals.
Schell said while the final numbers haven't been tallied yet, it is a big positive the event finished in the black.
"We'll be in a surplus; it's yet to be decided what the city will use it for," he said.
Schell said the organizing committee knew it would finish with a surplus because "we had an amazing Friends of the Games Committee. A big thank you to the individuals and businesses that stepped up to contribute or sponsor to the Winter Games. Those are companies or businesses that want to make the Battlefords better."
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