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Canada Games 2023 bid committee visiting P.E.I. on Sept. 19-20

The national Canada Games bid committee will be on P.E.I. Sept. 19-20 to further assess the province’s ability to host the 2023 Canada Winter Games. The local bid committee, from left, Heather Howatt, marketing, Wayne Crew, co-chairman, and Edna Flood, bid manager, have put together various bid books like this one the national committee will be looking at. It contains information, including how the local committee plans on handling challenges such as housing, feeding and transportation.
The national Canada Games bid committee will be on P.E.I. Sept. 19-20 to further assess the province’s ability to host the 2023 Canada Winter Games. The local bid committee, from left, Heather Howatt, marketing, Wayne Crew, co-chairman, and Edna Flood, bid manager, have put together various bid books like this one the national committee will be looking at. It contains information, including how the local committee plans on handling challenges such as housing, feeding and transportation. - Dave Stewart

The drive for the 2023 Canada Games on P.E.I. is beginning to ramp up, and the local bid committee is inviting Islanders to show their enthusiasm.

The national bid committee will be in the province Sept. 19-20 to evaluate the local bid committee’s bid package and determine if P.E.I. can host the 2023 Games.

One of the components of the bid is to show community support. So, the local bid committee has devised a business-to-business plan to try to get 2,000 people or more to simply show support as easily as possible with no commitment involved.

Any Islander can jump in and show their support simply by going to canadawintergames2023.ca and entering the first three digits of their postal code.

P.E.I.’s bid is an Island bid and not a competitive process of pitting one community against another.

Wayne Carew, who co-chairs the bid committee with Brian McFeely, said phase one of the bid process was to look at the facilities that will be used.

“The 20-odd sports that we’re going to be doing have to adhere to their national standards,’’ Carew said. “These are competitive events leading (to) somebody going to the Olympics, so you can’t have a pool that’s a foot too short or a track that’s a little too short. There are national standards around all those sports.’’

P.E.I. passed that phase.

Now comes the second phase: meeting the people involved.

“They want the documentation to substantiate what’s our plan for housing and feeding the athletes and transporting them. At the airport you have 4,000 athletes all arriving at the same time (and you have to show them) how you are going to feed them and provide 1,000 meals an hour.’’

The national bid committee will also be assessing P.E.I.’s bilingual capability and handicapped accessibility. All venues must be accessible.

Edna Flood, P.E.I.’s bid manager, also pointed out that Tanya Gallant will act as chairwoman of the cultural component of the Games.

A final decision will be made shortly after a board meeting on Sept. 27.

As part of hosting the national bid representatives, a free barbecue and community event, featuring Canada Games alumni like Heather Moyse and Dave “Eli” MacEachern, will be held on the Charlottetown waterfront from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Sept. 20.

Carew notes that 60 per cent of Olympic medallists are Canada Games alumni.

Heather Howatt, who handles marketing for the local bid committee, has no doubt P.E.I. is ready and will show that support at the barbecue.

“We have such a proud history in hosting sport events,’’ Howatt said. “We have to demonstrate that and get some people out and show that enthusiasm.’’

Carew said, according to Sports Canada, the economic impact of hosting a Canada Games is $100 million.

2023 also happens to be the 150th anniversary of P.E.I. joining Confederation.

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Bid committee co-chair says 2023 not contingent on new facility in Charlottetown

There has certainly been no shortage of talk and speculation about a new multi-use sports and entertainment complex in Charlottetown.

Much of the speculation lately has centred around the fact that P.E.I. is bidding for the 2023 Canada Winter Games.

Add that to the fact that the City of Charlottetown currently has a task force looking at a new arena, and the timeline certainly seems to fit. There seems to be just enough time to get the complex ready in time for the Games.

But there’s been no official word. City council has yet to receive a report from the task force and vote on the matter.

Now, the national Canada Games bid committee is taking a good, long look at P.E.I.’s ability to host the games, and that includes a look at facilities.

The national committee will be on P.E.I. Sept. 19-20.

Wayne Carew, co-chairman of P.E.I.’s bid committee, said a new arena isn’t the big story for them.

“We can deliver the Canada Games . . . without a new facility,’’ Carew said. “If there is a new facility that can replace some of what we’ve already planned then that would be fine. We’re not dependent on that happening.’’

Carew also stressed that the Games, if P.E.I.’s bid is successful, will be an Islandwide event.

“We’ll be doing events across the province, trying to get into as many communities as we can.’’

Carew also notes that if a new facility is built, it would have to be finished and ready by 2022.

“Because (at) every one of the facilities we have to do test events in to make sure it works.’’

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