Fi­nal medals handed out by 2019 Western Canada Sum­mer Games host com­mit­tee

Prairie Post (East Edition) - - NEWS - mlieben­berg@prairiepos­t.com By Matthew Lieben­berg

The fi­nal pa­per­work has been com­pleted and the books are closed on the largest event ever to be hosted in south­west Saskatchew­an.

The 2019 Western Canada Sum­mer Games host com­mit­tee’s fi­nal an­nual gen­eral meeting took place at the end of Septem­ber and the game cor­po­ra­tion is of­fi­cially dis­solved.

A fi­nal medal pre­sen­ta­tion took place at City Hall on Oct. 5, when host com­mit­tee co-chair Melissa Shaw pre­sented a framed set of medals to Mayor De­nis Per­rault, who ac­cepted the medals on be­half of the City of Swift Cur­rent.

“This will be proudly put up here at City Hall,” he said. “I think they're awe­some.”

The medals for the 2019 Western Canada Sum­mer Games were de­signed by lo­cal graphic de­signer Bran­don Wiebe. The de­sign el­e­ments com­bine prairie themes of wind and wheat along with the fa­mil­iar Cana­dian maple leaf.

Per­rault men­tioned that the process to host the games started in December 2014, and back then there was not cer­tainty the bid would be suc­cess­ful.

“This was a real stretch,” he said. “This was some­thing that we were shoot­ing far higher than our City ever had be­fore, and not think­ing we had that good of a chance. The fact that we won it was in­cred­i­ble and it’s a tes­ta­ment to Melissa and to her team for the good work that they did on the pro­posal. And the out­come, in my opin­ion, was it thrived and suc­ceeded in a com­mu­nity smaller than what they’re used to, on a bud­get far less than it ever had been be­fore, while still in my opin­ion, be­ing very suc­cess­ful.”

He felt the host­ing of the event in south­west Saskatchew­an had many ben­e­fits for the City and the re­gion.

“It was a great chance to show­case Swift and the south­west, and I think we were able to build lots of partnershi­ps from it,” he said. “Lots of peo­ple from all over came to be a vol­un­teer, to be a spon­sor. We were able to meet with a lot of the RMs and towns to en­cour­age them to be a part of it. So it was a great ex­pe­ri­ence.”

Shaw noted the host­ing of the games will have ben­e­fits that will con­tinue for many years in the south­west.

“The nice thing is that legacy now con­tin­ues too through dif­fer­ent legacy things that were left to the com­mu­ni­ties, sport­ing venues, equip­ment, legacy de­vel­op­ment cul­ture ac­tiv­i­ties,” she said. “So lots of money went back into the com­mu­nity to help fu­ture ath­letes and all that vol­un­teerism and lo­cal lead­ers even.”

In the case of Swift Cur­rent that legacy in­cludes the up­grad­ing of ten­nis courts, the de­vel­op­ment of a beach vol­ley­ball fa­cil­ity, and the build­ing of moun­tain cy­cle course.

The 2019 Western Canada Sum­mer Games host com­mit­tee ended their work in a sound fi­nan­cial po­si­tion.

“We are very ex­cited to say that we were $150,000 in the black,” she said. “So we were able to do­nate all of that money back into the com­mu­nity to dif­fer­ent groups. … It wasn't just Swift Cur­rent. It was the en­tire south­west that that money went to, and not just sport. The Art Gallery got some for their lo­cal sum­mer camps to help de­velop kids, lots of dif­fer­ent av­enues. So we're very ex­cited about that.”

Although the work of the host com­mit­tee has con­cluded, the games web­site with in­for­ma­tion, re­sults and pho­tos will re­main alive for five years.

The COVID-19 pan­demic has brought an end to large events, and Per­rault ex­pressed re­lief that the pan­demic did not oc­cur a year ear­lier.

“I keep think­ing if this COVID had hap­pened in 2019, with all of the dol­lars and all of the partnershi­ps and all of the spon­sors that had come to­gether to make 2019 hap­pen,” he said. “It would have been heart-break­ing, and it is for so many com­mu­ni­ties across Saskatchew­an that are los­ing some of th­ese events that they’ve al­ready got so much time and ef­fort and money in. I’m so thank­ful that we were able to pull all of this off in 2019.”

The City of Swift Cur­rent in­vested a sig­nif­i­cant amount of re­sources to sup­port the suc­cess of the event, both through fi­nan­cial sup­port and in-kind con­tri­bu­tions.

“We gave lots of staff and lots of our re­sources, but also a dol­lar con­tri­bu­tion as well, I be­lieve a to­tal of $600,000,” he said. “The cash part was $450,000 and we did that in or­der to get $1.2 mil­lion from the prov­ince of Saskatchew­an. So it was a pretty good bang for your buck, and also a great chance for us to ob­vi­ously show­case Swift and the south­west, and ex­pand on some of the fa­cil­i­ties that we al­ready had.”

The size of the event had a sig­nif­i­cant eco­nomic ben­e­fit for the re­gion. An eco­nomic im­pact study by Tourism Saskatchew­an in­di­cated that ap­prox­i­mately $5.75 mil­lion was spent in the lo­cal econ­omy and 35 new jobs were cre­ated.

Per­rault said he is aware that City staff is con­tin­u­ing to look at fu­ture op­por­tu­ni­ties to bring events to Swift Cur­rent af­ter the pan­demic is over.

“I think peo­ple are go­ing to be hun­gry and look­ing for some­thing fun, some­thing to bring back, and hope­fully we'll be able to de­liver,” he said.

Photo by Matthew Lieben­berg/Prairie Post

Swift Cur­rent Mayor De­nis Per­rault (at left) and 2019 Western Canada Sum­mer Games host com­mit­tee cochair Melissa Shaw dur­ing the pre­sen­ta­tion of a framed set of medals to the City of Swift Cur­rent, Oct. 5.

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