Thursday April 17, 2014

QUESTION OF THE WEEK

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The Games will not fail

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Brian Senchuk and Brian Smith – the "Two Brians" who fronted Estevan's bid committee for the 2016 Saskatchewan Summer Games – have had a simple mantra that they have carried through the last few months: Estevan would not fail.

If Estevan was to be awarded the games, then obviously the bid would be an unquestionable success. But even if Estevan didn't get the Games, then they reasoned the bid effort would still be a success, because of the boost in community morale, and because it would be the catalyst for a much-needed new track and field facility in the Energy City.

Well, Estevan has been awarded the 2016 Games. And now the next phase begins.

Estevan will have about two-and-a-half years to get ready for event, which is a celebration of youth amateur sport in Saskatchewan. The good news is that a lot of the venues in Estevan are already good enough to host the games next summer.

It's a reflection of our facilities for basketball, volleyball, baseball, softball, golf, soccer, archery and the different water sports. It's also a testament to the Estevan Comprehensive School (the games village), the Saskatchewan Energy Training Institute (the VIP area) and Spectra Place (the opening and closing ceremonies site).

The biggest challenge will be constructing a new track at the Estevan Comprehensive School. That was the biggest source of concern for many local residents about Estevan's bid, but as the "Two Brians" would say, "We will not fail." The track will be built, and it will happen on time.

If the site selection committee thought that it would be a major hurdle, Estevan would not have been awarded the games. Swift Current, Melfort or Humboldt – worthy candidates who were also on the short-list – would have been chosen as the host site.

Two-and-a-half years should be enough time to secure funding, design the track-and-field facility and construct it. 

Improvements are needed for Estevan's tennis courts, but at least those amenities already exist.

The committee will also have to secure hundreds of volunteers. The 2016 Saskatchewan Summer Games will likely go down as the largest volunteer initiative in Estevan's history. Hundreds of people will be needed in different capacities to make sure the Games are a hit.

The Games will be the ultimate showcase for Estevan – a celebration of our athletes, our venues, our people, our dedication to our community and our willingness to volunteer. It'll also offer some good exposure for our cultural venues, too, since they'll be well used for concerts and other events. 

The bid committee has worked tirelessly in the last seven months to secure this event for Estevan. They deserve every accolade imaginable. They're no longer a bid committee; they're now the Estevan 2016 Summer Games committee. And they have a lot of work ahead of them.

But hopefully they'll have enough time to pause and reflect on all the good that they have done for our city.

And as the two Brians would say, you can be sure that Estevan "will not fail" as the host city.


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