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Should YK host the Canada Games? Report pushed back

A report examining Yellowknife’s ability to host the 2023 Canada Winter Games has been delayed until next month.

The city is currently earmarked to host the Games seven years from now, but some residents have voiced strong opposition over fears Yellowknife does not possess sufficient resources.

A committee formed to study the requirements, impact and risks of the Games was expected to report back to councillors this month.

However, the city has asked Canada Games organizers for additional time.

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“The intention now, I think, is February,” Yellowknife mayor Mark Heyck told councillors on Monday.

“We did follow up with the Canada Games Council and they were OK with the city expressing its intent by the end of February.

“The committee has a few final items they want clarified in the final report before it comes to council.”

The Canada Games Council needs a definitive answer from Yellowknife sooner rather than later, as a replacement must be found if the city turns down the opportunity to host the Games. Should that happen, the city’s next chance may not arise until 2049.

The committee assessing Yellowknife’s readiness for such a project is formed of city and territorial officials alongside business leaders, sports organizations and other community representatives.

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Q&A: Canada Games basics answered (pdf, issued by YK’s Canada Games committee)

Its latest update identified major risks in the prospect of building a large athletes’ village, accommodating all other attendees and finding enough volunteers to man the Games.

There has also been longstanding concern that the proposed dates of the Games, in February or March, will see the event clash with peak aurora-viewing season for tourist operators – possibly stretching the city’s ability to host visitors and damaging its brand.

The committee has recommended that if Yellowknife does host the Games, Alpine sports should be removed from the program as there are no suitable facilities for the standard required – with other sports potentially introduced in their place.

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