Estevan residents won't know for another two or three months whether the city will host the 2016 Saskatchewan Summer Games, but the bid committee has done everything it can to put Estevan in the best possible position.
Committee members have been working tirelessly to finalize the bid book. They have been hosting regular meetings. They have prepared documents, selected committee chairs, and found the people to head up each sport.
They have also been working tirelessly to secure funding for what would be the centrepiece, and ultimately the Games' greatest legacy: a new track-and-filed venue.
Estevan has been lacking an adequate track-and-field facility for many years. A dirt track at the Estevan Comprehensive School (ECS) isn't acceptable for a city of this size. At one time, it appeared the new track would be at the Woodlawn Athletic Park, but plans have changed, and ECS will be the location.
If Estevan is awarded the Games, then the entire province will get to marvel at what will be an amazing facility. If we don't, then the track will still be constructed. It would address arguably our greatest sports venue deficiency, and it will be a tremendous asset when Estevan bids for the Games in the future.
The committee has already secured funding commitments from the City of Estevan and local school boards for the new track-and-field facility. Some will question a $336,000 pledge from the City to build a new track venue, it's worth noting that the City's commitment will be paid out over five years.
That works out to less than $70,000 per year. You might be able to resurface a block of beat-up roads in a quiet residential subdivision for that amount.
The City has also pledged to cover any deficit incurred by the 2016 Games, but that shouldn't be a factor. Only once has a Summer Games or a Winter Games lost money; these events build legacies of outstanding facilities and community support, not financial burdens and deficits.
The Games thrust a community, its venues, its people, its work ethic and its spirit into the spotlight. They bring the best athletes in the province in more than a dozen sports to a city. And they create an enormous economic spin-off for the hosts.
They are not an event that generates losses.
People in Estevan know that we have the volunteer base, the community spirit and the tradition of hosting great events. There are some great existing facilities, and there will be even more great venues if the Games come to Estevan.