The Resort Municipality of Whistler is considering submitting a bid to host either the 2015 or 2016 B.C. Seniors Games.
The RMOW is one of 50 local governments contacted by the Seniors Games Society in January and invited to bid on the annual. Regionally, Squamish was also invited to bid.
Mayor Nancy Wilhelm-Morden noted the process is still in the very early stages and a bid does not have to be submitted to the bid committee until the end of June.
The mayor said the idea is being reviewed by Whistler’s events working group, which is comprised of stakeholders like Tourism Whistler, Whistler Blackcomb, Chamber of Commerce, Whistler Sport Legacies and members of administration.
“They will make a recommendation about whether we should go forward with a bid,” Wilhelm-Morden said, adding there is no doubt the community has the capabilities to host such an event. “There are many things going on in our calendar these days, so it is whether we will have the capacity to host from a scheduling perspective.”
B.C. Seniors Games Society president June Parsons said organizers would love to bring the games aimed at residents of B.C. who are 55 years and older to Whistler.
Parsons said communities are invited to bid to host the event every two years and it has not yet been held in Whistler. There are many venues needed for the minimum 25 sports offered during the competition, she added, which means Whistler may have to combine efforts with neighbouring communities like Squamish.
She estimated participation levels at 3,500 people and an economic impact to the host community of over $2 million according to an economic impact assessment conducted in Nanaimo four years ago. That, Parsons added, does not include money spent by friends, family and coaches.
“This is a huge economic impact to any community that hosts the games because of the rooms and the food — the seniors pay for everything,” she said, adding it is also a great example of how seniors can have a healthy and active lifestyle too. “Our games showcase to every community that we go to that age is not a deterrent to live an active and healthy lifestyle and that is what we are all about.”
This year the 26th for the annual games, which will be held in Kamloops at the end of summer.