Gearing up for the Pan Am Games 0
Ian Troop, CEO for the 2015 Toronto Pan Am Games, visited Minden on July 26. It is now official that the Minden WIld Water Preserve will host the whitwater canoe and kayak events for the games. CHAD INGRAM/MINDEN TIMES/QMI AGENCY
It’s official; Minden Hills will host the whitewater canoe and kayak events for the 2015 Toronto Pan/Parapan America Games.
While the Minden Wild Water Preserve was always the planned venue for the events, there was some uncertainty whether whitewater sports would be part of the games.
That question was answered definitively when games CEO Ian Troop visited Minden on Thursday.
Troop met with Minden Hills councillors during their morning meeting.
He said the games would be “the likes of which Ontario hasn’t had since 1930,” when Hamilton hosted the British Empire Games. “When I say this could be a once-in-a-lifetime event . . . I’m not kidding.”
Thousands of spectators are expected to attend the two-day whitewater event in Minden and athletes will be arriving five days prior for training.
Troop said the event should mean plenty of exposure for Minden Hills.
“It’s a huge event for Latin America,” Troop said, adding that some 350 million people had watched the 2011 Guadalajara games.
The whitewater races at the 2015 games will also serve as the Olympic trials for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
“It’ll have great competitive relevancy,” Troop said.
Meeting with business owners later in the day, Troop,said there would be opportunities for local small businesses to get involved through the games’ procurement program.
The games have a budget of $1.4 billion and some $350 million of that is allotted for goods and services, everything from linens to food to construction.
Tenders are divided into categories of less than $10,000; $10,000 to $100,000; and more than $100,000.
“If you are interested, register your business on our website,” Troop said, adding some 1,000 suppliers are already signed up to take part in the bidding.
According to Troop, the games should be the biggest economic driver in southern Ontario during the next three years, creating some 15,000 jobs.
Troop wasn’t sure what the local economic impact might be in terms of dollars.
Volunteers from the area, likely in the hundreds, will be required for the event and Troop said volunteer recruitment would start in 2013.
On top of the anticipated economic impact, Troop said another benefit for Minden Hills would the “social legacy” of the event, allowing local children and the community itself to see their potential.
In all, some 10,000 athletes will travel to Ontario for the games.
Troop said operations are running on time and on budget, with construction of the aquatic centre in Scarborough and the athletes’ village in Toronto already underway.
“We’re only three years out . . . it’s going to happen sooner than you think,” he said.
For more information, visit www.toronto2015.org.