With just over a year away from the 2020 Saskatchewan Summer Games, plans have hit the ground running. A tri-party agreement is set between the Saskatchewan Summer Games Council, the city of Lloydminster and the 2020 Lloydminster Saskatchewan Summer Games Host Society.
The agreement means the SSGC commits a $420,000 operating grant. A matching legacy grant of $250,000 is also being given to enhance the community’s sports facilities and equipment. The council will also give the host society support assets valued at more than $200,000.
On top of these funding announcements, 2020 SSG Host Society Chairperson Kevin Kusch unveiled the creative material and tagline for the games. “Earn Your Edge” is a nod to the city’s position on the very edge of the province. Kusch thinks that while this interpretation is correct, the athletes participating will resonate with the message a little differently.
“When you talk about that edge again and think about what that means to them. How hard they have to work to qualify, the things they have to do to prepare, and the things they have to do to prepare. The time they have to put in, the effort they have to put in. It’s almost like coming to the games is a bit of a reward, for all the time, effort and resources they put into becoming a better athlete,” says Kusch.
Over the next year, a lot of work needs to be done in order to prepare for the games. On top of upgrades to the city’s sports facilities, more than 1,000 community volunteers will need to be signed up and an athlete’s village will need to be made. Kusch says that the SSG Host Society is right on track and that working with the city has been smooth sailing.
“We’ve had many on-site meetings with the facilities, and tours around, and brainstorming for how to make things better. They just like, what do you think we need to do, and how do we support you in doing this? Whether it’s manpower or some equipment they have, they’ve been absolutely fantastic to work with.”
Lloydminster has been known to host many large-scale sporting events, such as the 2008 Sask. Summer Games, the 2017 Pinty’s Gland Slam of Curling and the 2016 Royal Bank Cup. Mayor Gerald Aalbers is confident that volunteers will be found to help run the games, and is excited for the economic impact they’ll leave behind.
“This is certainly going to bring in a lot of people. I think we’ll see the hotels pick up, we’ll see the restaurants pick up, we’ll see shopping [and] we’ll see tourism. I think it’s an excellent way to put Lloydminster on the map. We’re going to be covered across Saskatchewan in the media for a week, which is a great thing. It’s a real economic shocking arm for the city, especially when we could use it,” says Aalbers.
The 2020 Sask. Summer Games take place next year from July 26 until August 1. It’s expected to draw 5,000 spectators from across the province with an estimated economic impact of $5 million.