Harbour Grace/Carbonear, Clarenville and C.B.S. will each take on the host role for a second time
© Kenn Oliver/The Telegram
Harbour Grace mayor Don Coombs speaks Monday at the soccer hut in‚ÄąConception‚ÄąBay‚ÄąSouth, where the provincial government announced the hosts of the next three Newfoundland and Labrador Games. Harbour Grace and Carbonear will co-host the 2012 Summer Games, Clarenville will be the site for the 2014 Winter Games andd‚ÄąC.B.S. was selected to host the 2016 Summer Games. Joining Mayor Coombs were (from the left), C.B.S.‚Äądeputy‚ÄąMayor John‚ÄąHicks, Clarenville Mayor Fred Best, MHA for Trinity‚ÄąNorth Ross Wiseman, and the MHA for Carbonear-Harbour Grace Jerome Kennedy.
Nearly two decades ago, Danny Cleary, then 13, helped lead the host side to a gold medal in ball hockey at the 1992 Newfoundland and Labrador Summer Games, co-hosted by Harbour Grace and Carbonear.
Those two Conception Bay North towns will once again team up, this time to host the 2012 Provincial Summer Games and Harbour Grace Mayor Don Coombs would like Cleary ‚ÄĒ born in Carbonear and raised in Harbour Grace ‚ÄĒ to again be part of the sporting event, if the Detroit Red Wings forward‚Äôs schedule permits.
‚ÄúWe need to have a patron, so it‚Äôs on the radar. The timing is good. The last time we had (the Games) in August, and his hockey‚Äącamps are (here) August. So there‚Äôll be an offer to (Cleary) to be part of these Games,‚ÄĚ‚Äąsaid Coombs on Monday in Conception Bay South, where the host communities for the next three Provincial Games were revealed.
Minister of Tourism, Culture and Recreation Terry‚ÄąFrench also announced Clarenville will be site of the 2014 winter event, with C.B.S. hosting the 2016 Summer Games.
‚ÄúWe‚Äôve got great volunteers, and most of the infrastructure is already in place,‚ÄĚ said ‚ÄąCoombs, who was joined by Carbonear Mayor Sam‚ÄąSlade for the announcement.
‚ÄúThere‚Äôs a good government grant that comes with it, there are good people involved. Now we‚Äôve got to get some good sponsors on board, which is important.
‚ÄúWhen the kids arrive in‚ÄąHarbour Grace and Carbonear, we‚Äôll be ready and they‚Äôll feel at home.‚ÄĚ
When the towns co-hosted the event in 1992, Coombs says a great deal of money was spent creating new infrastructure, including a baseball field and soccer pitch. This time, most of the improvements will be what he terms ‚Äúcosmetic‚ÄĚ upgrades to existing facilities as opposed to new construction.
The plan, says Coombs, is to expand the Games beyond the two host communities in an effort to include different sports, such as beach volleyball and rowing, to bolster their volunteer base and make it a regional celebration of sport and recreation.
Like Conception Bay North, it will be 20 years since Clarenville last hosted a Games, but Mayor Fred Best maintains his town remains the ideal place on the province‚Äôs east coast to hold a winter sports festival.
‚ÄúIn St. John‚Äôs, they‚Äôve got almost no snow. Right now, we‚Äôve adequate snow in Clarenville for downhill and cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, skidooing,‚ÄĚ Best stated Monday.
‚ÄúAnd that‚Äôs the message we‚Äôve got to promote: If there‚Äôs no snow in St. John‚Äôs, come to Clarenville and you‚Äôll get the snow belt.‚ÄĚ
With the 1994 Winter Games complex still in use and connected to the new Clarenville Events Centre, plus three consecutive winters of upgrades to the town‚Äôs extensive system of cross-country ski trails and big improvements coming to the White Hills snow-making facilities, Best feels his community could host a Games next year if they had to.
Clarenville doesn‚Äôt have the same large regional population base as say Grand Falls-Windsor, which hosted the last Winter Games earlier just under a year ago, but Best says Clarenville‚Äôs volunteers are more than capable of meeting the challenge.
‚ÄúTwenty years ago, we had the participation of the whole community ... everyone was completely enthralled by the Winter Games.‚ÄąIt was big thing happening in our small community and I anticipate the same type of atmosphere in 2014,‚ÄĚ he said.
The 20-year separation between turns as a Games host will also apply to Conception Bay South, which was represented at Monday‚Äôs announcement by Deputy Mayor John Hicks, who was a 21-year-old university student when the 1996 Games were in C.B.S.
‚ÄúI remember the feeling in the town of being highlighted for the whole province to see, and having all these visitors in C.B.S. (made for) a great time‚ÄĚ said Hicks, who believes the Games will only help to further solidify the amalgamated town‚Äôs identity, ‚Äúnot just for the people who have moved here, but for the people who‚Äôve lived here all their lives.‚ÄĚ
C.B.S. will spend the time leading up to the Games building its volunteer base and assessing facilities to determine if the events will be held exclusively in C.B.S. or if other communities will have to be utilized to take advantage of specialized facilities such as those associated with track and field, which currently do not exist in the town.
‚ÄúIt‚Äôs great that we‚Äôve got five years. We‚Äôll have a lot of time to plan this and do it right,‚ÄĚ said Hicks.