Whitehorse Daily Star

Image title

Photo by Whitehorse Star

Pictured Above: DAN CURTIS and LINDA RAPP

Arctic Winter Games to return to council’s agenda

City council is once again considering hosting athletes from across the North.

By Stephanie Waddell on May 19, 2017

City council is once again considering hosting athletes from across the North.

It’s getting set to vote next week on whether to have Mayor Dan Curtis sign off on an agreement with the Yukon government and begin work to form a host society that would be tasked with overseeing the 2020 Arctic Winter Games in Whitehorse.

The recommendation to move forward with the agreement and forming of the host society came forward to council Monday evening.

Interim city manager Linda Rapp highlighted the work that has already gone into potentially hosting another AWG.

It would mark the seventh time for Whitehorse to host the international multi-sport event that draws together athletes from throughout the circumpolar North every two years. The last time the city hosted the AWG was in 2012.

Along with multiple AWGs over the years, the city has hosted athletes from around the globe who come here to compete in major sporting events from national cross-country skiing competitions to international softball championships to multi-sporting events like the 2007 Canada Winter Games and AWGs among many more.

Iqaluit had been set to host AWG in 2020, but withdrew because it would be unable to host any more than nine of the 21 sports that take place over the week of competition.

Other potential host regions also confirmed they wouldn’t be able to host the 2020 Games due to a variety of issues that vary by region.

That left the Yukon, which brought it forward to the city for consideration last year. In June 2016, council was unanimous in voting to enter into negotiations with the AWG International Committee to host the games.

As Rapp told council, the agreement specifies that the city would not be left on the hook for any cost overruns.

“With the signing of the memorandum of agreement, the city has assurance that it would not be responsible to fund any deficit at the conclusion of the Games,” she said.

“The city and the Yukon government would work together to establish the host society and the budget for the delivery of the AWG 2020.”

Similarly, Curtis commented that he has had assurance that the 2020 Games would be the best Games the territory “can afford.”

Answering questions from Coun. Samson Hartland later in the meeting, Rapp said $200,000 has been identified as the city’s cash contribution for the Games along with the city’s anticipated in-kind contributions of facilities that would be used for the events.

Signing the agreement would also allow for further negotiations with the AWG’s international committee to happen at its meetings set for June in Calgary.

“The host society would be established over the summer and some Whitehorse host society representation would then attend mission meetings of participating contingents in September, which is the Northwest Territories’ final meeting prior to the 2018 AWG,” Rapp stated.

Depending on negotiations in June and the work done to form a host society, it’s anticipated recruitment of a general manager for the Games could begin in the fall.

Rapp went on to highlight the benefits of hosting the Games from sport development to building volunteer capacity throughout the community to community pride and the impact on the economy, and she noted the city’s past experience as a host.

“If Whitehorse does not proceed with hosting the AWG in 2020, it would be on the scheduled rotation for 2022 (unless other changes happen at the Arctic Winter Games International Committee level),” Rapp said.

“There is currently no alternative for a host committee for AWG 2020.”

The 2020 Games will be an “important milestone,” Coun. Jocelyn Curteanu said. She pointed out that it will mark the 50th anniversary since the first AWG were held in Yellowknife in 1970.

The 2018 AWG are scheduled for March 18-24 in the South Slave region of the N.W.T.

Comments (4)

Up 9 Down 3

Bud Smith on May 25, 2017 at 1:35 pm

The priorities in this city never cease to amaze me
WH does not need yet ANOTHER winter sports party.

How about using the money to repaint the crosswalks on 4th Avenue and introduce a nightly downtown police presence , Mister Mayor

Up 12 Down 3

north_of_60 on May 23, 2017 at 8:12 pm

Most of the economic benefit of this March Break sports party goes to junk food sellers, hotels and restaurants. The rest of us see our taxes ever increasing to pay for it. Instead make the users pay with a municipal tax on junk food sellers, hotels and restaurants to pay for it.

Up 12 Down 2

Josey Wales on May 21, 2017 at 3:49 pm

Hey PSG....silly, facts are irrelevant with this group.
Also that carbon footprint you reference, that falls into "do as we say...not as we do" category. Political blowholes are teamed up with Eco zealots keeping Websters definition of hypocrisy very current.
Pretty easy to party with other people's money. Our blowholes...well they looooooooooove doing that.
Funny thing, few reflect on what DOES NOT GET DONE whilst the back patting ceremony is underway in those "uber effective" chair warming snack infested nobles chambers.

Up 10 Down 1

ProScience Greenie on May 20, 2017 at 11:27 am

Just out of curiosity, what is the carbon footprint of these games? Any effort to lower it? Will the carbon sin tax apply?
Why is the AWG’s international committee meeting in Calgary south of 60N?

Also, which 12 games can't Iqaluit host and why? Should those sports be eliminated if they are proving difficult for some cities to handle? Should the AWG be hosted permanently in Whitehorse with the other cities paying their share? Does the economic benefit generated from hosting the game stay in the hands of a few businesses or is it spread out to all? How much is this going to cost each Yukon taxpayer? Show us the numbers.

Add your comments or reply via Twitter @whitehorsestar

In order to encourage thoughtful and responsible discussion, website comments will not be visible until a moderator approves them. Please add comments judiciously and refrain from maligning any individual or institution. Read about our user comment and privacy policies.

Your name and email address are required before your comment is posted. Otherwise, your comment will not be posted.