OLDS — Town council has kicked around the idea of hosting the 55 Plus Winter or Summer Games, possibly in conjunction with other communities.
The idea came up during a recent Town of Olds council meeting, spurred by a letter from Alberta 55 Plus president Dave Finn.
Finn invited communities to bid for the Winter or Summer Games, saying his organization has prepared a booklet that goes through the pros and cons of doing so.
Finn’s letter said about 750 people participated in the 2019 Alberta 55 Plus Winter Games in Cold Lake and generated a “financial benefit” of about $650,000.
He estimated that Alberta 55 Plus Summer Games, held in Medicine Hat that year, featured 750 to 900 participants and likely generated “similar or slightly higher numbers” than those generated in Cold Lake.
According to the Alberta 55 Plus website, the 2022 Alberta 55 Plus Winter Games are scheduled to be held April 7-10 in Edmonton and the 2022 Alberta 55 Plus Summer Games are slated to occur in the Peace Region June 16-19.
Finn said the Winter Games would require hotels for all participants while the Summer Games would require hotels and many RV sites for all participants.
The town's chief administrative officer suggested the idea of hosting the games be raised at the Municipal Area Partnership level - a group representing six local municipalities, adding costs would be associated with hosting the games, but that the province would likely provide some funding to help offset those costs.
Community services director Doug Wagstaff said a provincial official had indeed contacted Town of Olds officials offering assistance to any community that wanted to host the games.
He said the idea fits in with the Mountain View Regional Parks, Recreation and Culture Master Plan, unveiled to council last November.
Mayor Judy Dahl warned it could take a while to organize those games.
“We have done this in the past with past councils and it took almost a year in advance to prepare,” she said.