Vermilion-Lloydminster MLA Richard Starke made his way across the pond last week to shore up support and sell Edmonton to the Commonwealth Games committee.
Edmonton is bidding on the 2022 Commonwealth Games, and late last week the two candidates for the games were given an opportunity to sell their vision at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland.
“It was productive, short and very busy. We had the opportunity to meet with delegations all throughout the commonwealth and talk to them about Edmonton’s candidacy for the 2022 games,” the minister of Tourism, Parks and Recreation said.
While the official announcement will not be delivered until September 2015, Starke said that with attending this year’s games the process of selling Edmonton was started.
“I think that Edmonton has a realistic chance of getting it. Edmonton is going to have a formidable opposition in Durban, South Africa. Durban made an excellent presentation but I think that Edmonton has a great deal to offer as well,” he said.
“I think that if those things are highlighted to the voting delegates, then I believe that it will promote ourselves in the eyes of the voting delegates.”
Starke said that there are numerous benefits of hosting the Commonwealth Games again.
“I mean in terms of putting Edmonton in the world spotlight, and highlighting Edmonton as a worldclass city, highlighting Edmonton as a community that can host major multi-sporting events,” he said.
Starke said that the legacy of hosting the 1978 games was facilities like Commonwealth Stadium and the Kinsmen Aquatic Centre.
“These outstanding facilities still serve the public today, and that with fairly minor modifications for new games they would be able to continue to serve the community for many years going forward,” he said.
Edmonton has hosted the Commonwealth Games before, in 1978. Canada has hosted the games four times since the creation of the games in 1930. Hamilton, Ont. hosted the first games, Vancouver, B.C., hosted the fifth Commonwealth Games, Edmonton in 1978, and Victoria in 1994.
A South African city has not hosted the games.
Australia is the only other country to host the games more than Canada. If Edmonton wins the 2022 bid, Edmonton will be the first host city to get the games twice, and will tie Canada with Australia for hosting duties at five times apiece.
There are currently 53 Commonwealth countries that participate in the games.