It is just under two years until the 2019 Canada Winter Games kick off in Red Deer and everything is in place.
“Yep, we could start tomorrow,” said Scott Robinson, the CEO of the games.
Of course he was joking.
“No, things are going good. According to all our milestones, planning steps so far we’re in good shape,” said Robinson.
There are close to 100 volunteers working with 2019 Winter Games staff on the planning side of things with that volunteer number growing to nearly five thousand once the games get much closer to happening.
“Over the next six months we’ll probably add a couple hundred more in the area of just planning out the certain areas like transportation, medical services. We’ll start building up committees in each of those areas, “he said.
As the clock ticks closer to the games they will then start to add all the games-time volunteers and that’s where you get to the big numbers of people helping out. By the time the games begin in earnest around five thousand volunteers will be lending a hand,said Robinson.
“As we get closer to the games we’ll be doing recruitment drives throughout the region, not just Red Deer. We’ll be reaching out to various counties and municipalities throughout Central Alberta.”
There are so many pieces to this event Robinson says there’s no shortage of things to think about and deal with due to the many variables of planning such a mammoth event.
“It requires you to really think through what they call the interdependencies between different areas of the business. Once you get into that part you start to have a real sense of how big it is and how complicated it can be.”
Right now it’s revenue generation through sponsorship which is on the front burner. The games committee has to raise $13 million, of which $8.5 million is sponsorship, so there is plenty of focus in talking with various corporations to get them involved. At this point about 30 per cent of that number has been raised but there are other issues which need to be addressed.
“As well we are in what they call the functional planning phase where we’re now planning each of the 40 functional areas that are involved in the delivery of the games,” he said.
Another task facing the games committee is keeping the idea of what’s going to happen in less than two years in the minds of the public. Robinson says they will work hard at keeping people informed as to where capital projects are but at the same time remind them of how unique this event is.
“In the presentations we’re making around the city to various groups I think people are surprised, even though they’ve heard of the games their not really familiar with what it means in terms of economic impact and the size and scope of it,” he said.
The feeling is this group will be busy with details right up until athletes arrive on February 15th, 2019.
“We’re going to be as ready as we can be,” said Robinson. “We’re confident we’ll have all the pieces in place and things will look good.”