Halfway down the road to the GamesNANCY MACPHEE
The Journal Pioneer
Only 161 days remain until the start of the 2009 Canada Games.
While it frightens him to admit it, Joseph Spriet’s confident the host committee is in “excellent shape” to host the two-week national sporting event.“It scares me to death to say that,” said the host committee president. “When you start thinking you’re in great shape, Murphy’s Law comes into play. I don’t want to see Murphy around anywhere.”
By all indications things are quickly falling into place for the August event.
Facilities at UPEI are 85 to 90 per cent complete. Montague’s new multi-million dollar recreation facility should be done by May 31, which comes as a big relief to organizers, and upgrades to existing facilities are either underway or complete.
Recently, the host committee and Slemon Park Corporation signed its venue agreement while the food services contract with Chartwells, which will serve up 100,000 meals over two weeks to the 4,400 athletes, was inked last week.
Both, as was the Montague complex, had been “red flags” for the committee.
The issue at Slemon Park was space for beds for athletes.
“We had to get to a point where Slemon Park and the host society could agree on the costs of either an apartment building, upgrading Building 48 to be able to host athletes and the other option, which was not too palatable, to bring in temporary facilities like trailers.”
With an agreement to renovate the existing building, “all of the other pieces” are now in place for the week one athletes’ village.With food services, cost was the issue.
“They’ve made some accommodations,” said Spriet.
“Our Games have always been mandated to be very athlete-centred. There’s no cutting back here.”
Next week, the host committee unveils its volunteer clothing and in the weeks that follow more staff will be hired.
While press conferences and facilities work are visible benchmarks, there’s much more going on behind the scenes that the public doesn’t see, said Spriet.
Twelve divisions, each with its own committee, have taken on a component of the Games, from services and turnaround to volunteers.
“We’re moving along very well,” added Spriet. “We feel we are in very good shape to stage the Games when August rolls around.”
There’s a contingency plan and a contingency fund in place if problems arise, both of which Spriet hopes won’t be used.
In July, the host committee will run through all the scenarios that its 12 committees could face during the Games and all systems will be tested.
“We can’t cover everything but we can try,” said Spriet.
“I think we’re in excellent shape.”