Representatives from the Town of Bonnyville, City of Cold Lake, MD of Bonnyville, and 4 Wing Cold Lake set aside their differences on May 31 to show a delegation from the bid selection committee for the 2015 Western Canada Summer Games the recreational facilities of the Lakeland.
Fresh from their visit to Airdrie, the selection board members deplaned at Medley Terminal and were greeted by dignitaries from Bonnyville Town council, Cold Lake City council, MD council, and wing commander Col. David Wheeler, who took the delegation on a guided tour of the Lakeland, chauffeured by Bonnyville's own Town Coun. Ray Prevost, who is also a bus driver.
After being welcomed by Cold Lake Mayor Craig Copeland, the group had a brief tour of the recreational facilities on base led by Wheeler. From there, the group visited the Energy Centre, inspected construction on the new arena, and then journeyed to the lake, boarding a boat captained by Cold Lake City Coun. Chris Vining. They toured the proposed canoeing sites from the water before returning to shore and taking the bus to Bonnyville.
In Bonnyville, they briefly visited the Centennial Centre before driving past the new soccer pitches beside École des Beaux-Lacs and journeying to the Shaw House for dinner.
The whirlwind tour was the last step for the communities in their bid to host the 2015 summer games and after boarding a plane destined for Fort McMurray to tour Wood Buffalo, the final community bidding for the honour, the committee will evaluate all the information received, and make its decision, which is not final.
From there, the committee makes a recommendation to the province, who has final control over which community is given the games, which will be announced at a later date.
More than just the area's recreational facilities were on display, however, as committee member Alfred Fischer expressed concerns over "split-bids" and the ability of different factions like the MD, the Town of Bonnyville, and the City of Cold Lake to work together to pull off such a complex event.
The dignitaries who met them at the airport went out of their way to reassure them that despite their differences, the communities partnering in the bid were more than capable of working together for the greater good, a point proven during the Lakeland's hosting of the 2010 Winter Games.
"We do a lot of stuff together, the Town of Bonnyville, 4 Wing, and Cold Lake, so putting in a bid is another point of co-operation," Copeland explained.
Wheeler agreed in his own greeting to the delegation, saying, "We helped support these guys in the winter games that recently took place, so I think we've got a good working relationship as far as that goes."
Before coming to the Lakeland, the committee also visited Lethbridge, Medicine Hat, and Airdrie, journeying to Wood Buffalo after.
Despite feeling confident the region has superior facilities and the tour went well, Town Coun. Gene Sobolewski, representing Bonnyville as the deputy mayor, isn't sure the area will win the bid.
"I think they like to spread the love around, or spread the games around," he explained. "Though I think we presented very strongly and had a good tour, I would think it's probably going to go to someone who hasn't had games in a while. That's just my personal opinion based on some of the comments that were made."
Before flying off to their next tour, Fischer said, "I'd like to thank you guys again for doing a great job. You've got great facilities, a great region, and lots of effort, so thank you guys very much. We know you hosted great games in 2010, we know you guys have the organization and the people ability to do this, so thank you very much."