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Multi-city games bid might not work

An informal proposal by a Halifax sports writer might look good in theory but still has its flaws according to Canada Games brass.

By Joe Henley

Posted: Feb. 2, 2005

A Halifax sports columnist’s suggestion that the 2011 Canada Winter Games should be shared by those Nova Scotia communities currently competing amongst themselves to host the games was met with little enthusiasm today from sport and government officials.

Four different groups representing the Halifax Regional Municipality, the Annapolis Valley, a Hub group consisting of Truro, Wentworth, Brookfield and other communities, and a Highland Quad bid consisting of the communities of Antigonish, Pictou, Guysborough and Port Hawkesbury have each put in separate bids to host the games. The national Canada Games organizing committee had earlier decided the games would go to Nova Scotia.

Chris Cochrane, a senior sports journalist for the Halifax Chronicle-Herald, made the teaming-up suggestion in his column Wednesday.

“Instead of different regions spending taxpayer money to win the overall event,” Cochrane wrote, “why not follow a plan for everyone to share in the hosting and in the inevitable sport infrastructure improvements that come with the games?”

Cochrane also pointed out that not all communities have proper facilities to house the over 20 events of the winter games. He suggested some regions would be more suitable than others for hosting certain events, and could use their existing facilities instead of forcing other communities to spend money on new infrastructure.   

Sue Hylland, President and C.E.O. of the Canada Games Council in Ottawa, says that although a multi-city bid cannot be ruled out, there are potential problems with such an approach. 

“There’s a part of the games that wants to keep things centralized,” she said via phone. 

She referred to the Canada Games held between Bathurst and Campbellton, New Brunswick; the last time multiple cities hosted the Canada Games. “Was it ideal?-No.  There were complications.  Logistically there were challenges [with] having two communities instead of one,” she said. 

While Hylland will not completely dismiss the possibility of multiple Nova Scotia communities hosting the games, her preference would be to have one host. 

“It simplifies it,” she said.

Marlene Melanson, a spokesperson for the Highland Quad bid preferred not to speculate on a joint hosting effort until a formal proposal is seen, and calls for reaction to the Halifax city councillors were not returned by our deadline.