Squamish is short on the hotel rooms needed to accommodate a bid for the B.C. Seniors’ Games.
Since the last November, District of Squamish officials have pieced together a proposal to host the games in 2015 or 2016. The push came after municipal staff concluded the district doesn’t have the necessary recreation infrastructure to accommodate the B.C. Summer Games.
At the time, the district’s director of recreation services, Tim Hoskin, told council that the most expensive deficiency to holding the four-day, youth-centered B.C. Summer Games was a need for a second pool for competition diving. Brennan Park Recreation Centre’s diving area is not deep enough, nor the ceiling high enough, to do the job, he said.
The B.C. Seniors’ Games offers a bit more flexibility, Hoskin said.
“One of the hurdles we have to clear is it requires 1,000 bed units,” he said.
Squamish has approximately 560 hotel beds, but more than meets the game’s required 400 RV spaces, with 500 RV sites.
“So we are good for camping,” Hoskin said.
As for sporting infrastructure, the district doesn’t meet the games’ required eight curling sheets, nor a eight-lane, 400-metre certified track. The town also lacks an eight- to 12-lane, five-pin bowling alley, Hoskin noted.
The district is examining the possibility of partnering with West Vancouver or Whistler to fill in the gaps, Coun. Ted Prior said.
“We pretty much have everything dialled in on what we need,” Prior noted.
District staff estimated the B.C. Summer Games would pump an estimated $2.6 million into the local economy. The senior games would pull in a similar dollar figure, Hoskin told The Chief last September.
District staff and the community will have to decide whether they want to build infrastructure for the games, and if so, whether it fits in with residents’ needs, Hoskin said. The B.C. Seniors’ Games is a volunteer initiative and requires interest from locals to donate time, he added.
“We will be competing with a lot of other towns,” Hoskin said.
The application deadline to host the 2015 or 2016 Seniors Games is June 2013. Applications will be accepted in January. Hoskin said he expects to have an open discussion about the games at that point.