Games get backing

The Greater Vernon Advisory Committee is endorsing the City of Vernon’s bid for the 2017 55-Plus B.C. Games

Support is growing for a major sports event to come to the North Okanagan.

The Greater Vernon Advisory Committee is endorsing the City of Vernon’s bid for the 2017 55-Plus B.C. Games, formerly known as the B.C. Seniors Games.

“It’s a really positive thing and we will be able to showcase our new track,” said Juliette Cunningham, GVAC chairperson.

The multi-sport event could draw up to 4,000 athletes, friends and family to the area with a projected economic impact of about $2.1 million.

“For the entire regional district, there will be people coming to see it,” said director Jim Garlick,  who sees direct benefits for his community if Vernon wins the bid.

“We have people who work at them (restaurants and hotels) who live in Coldstream.”

Vernon hosted the first B.C. Seniors Games in 1988 but has been unable to do so since because of the lack of a certified running track.

A new facility will open next to Okanagan College in late June.

“It makes this a venue that will attract people from far and wide,” said Garlick.

As part of its support, GVAC would provide funding towards hosting the event and make the running track available at no charge.

Armstrong has previously indicated support.

While the city’s focus is hosting the 2017 Games, bids will also be submitted for 2018 and 2019.