Council met on Oct. 23, 2018 and decided to put in a bid to host the 2022 Arctic Winter Games after the RMWB received a letter of invitation to bid on the games on May, 17, 2018 from the Alberta Minister of Culutre and Tourism.
The international sport festival brings together athletes and cultural participants from the Northern Alberta, Northwest Territories, Yukon, Nunavut, Alaska, Greenland, Russian, Nunavik, Norway and Sweden.
The games are generally held in march and provide an opportunity to showcase the communities entertainment and cultural aspects with 20 sporting and cultural events that attract 2000 participants and many spectators from across the northern hemisphere.
Other benefits of hosting the games include raising the profile of the region, building sport event hosting capacity, boosting tourism, the local economy, to the approximate tune of $13-million, and promoting civic involvement, which are all goals set out in the 2018-2021 strategic plan.
Kim Rizzi, co-chair of the bid committee, says it’ll bring a positive light to Fort McMurray.
“It shows the community that we have, it showcases our world class facilities that Industry and the Municipality have invested.” said Rizzi.
The Government of Alberta contributes $1.8 million to fund the games, which cost between $5 million and $8 million.
It is being recommended that $30,000 from the 2018 Economic Development Branch operating budget be used to cover the costs associated with the bid.
If the RMWB becomes the successful bidder, Council will have to approve the proposed games budget with a recommendation that and a maximum of $4 million be given to the 2022 Arctic Winter Games Host Society from the Emerging Issues Reserve.
Temporary accommodations of the athletes, coaches and cultural participates are a requirement of the games at an estimated cost of $1.3 million. While schools have been a preferred option for accommodations, an alternative that has been utilized is temporary camp accommodations.
There is also a requirement to host the opening and closing ceremonies indoors, however the Municipality currently does not have a venue to accommodate the number of attendees.
When the Municipality hosted the 2004 games, a temporary indoor venue was built at a cost of about $1 million.
Grande Prairie is also considering putting in a bid however, they hosted the 2010 Arctic Winter Games.
On Jan. 15, 2019 the international bidding committee will be visiting the Wood Buffalo region.
Rizzi is encouraging those who support the games to participate in a pep rally at MacDonald Island with details to come on the Facebook page.