MAPLE RIDGE (NEWS 1130) – The 2020 BC Summer Games have been cancelled due to COVID-19.
The Games were to be held July 23-26 in Maple Ridge. The city will still host the Games, but in 2024.
“Keeping British Columbians safe and healthy is our top priority. Through conversations with leadership at the BC Games Society, it became clear that there was no viable path forward to host the Games this year and that they must now be cancelled,” Tourism Minister Lisa Beare, MLA for Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows, says in a release.
“I’m so thrilled that the Maple Ridge council, BC Games Society, School District No. 42 and the local organizing committee were able to respond quickly, and that we can now all look forward to the 2024 BC Summer Games in Maple Ridge.”
To reduce the spread of COVID-19 and protect the health of British Columbians, the 2020 BC Summer Games that were scheduled for July 23-26 in Maple Ridge have been cancelled.
— BC Games (@BCGames1) March 25, 2020
The provincial government has already declared a state of emergency in B.C., banning all large gatherings.
Cancelling the 2020 Games supports efforts to contain the spread of the virus and focus available resources and public attention on overcoming the pandemic.
“It is very unfortunate for athletes and coaches across the province who will not have a BC Games experience this summer, but this is bigger than all of us,” Alison Noble, president and CEO of the BC Games Society, says in a release.
“We need to respect this issue and take socially responsible action. We look forward to the Games resuming in the future.”
The BC Games are held every two years. Greater Vernon will host the 2022 BC Winter Games and the 2022 BC Summer Games will be in Prince George. The City of Maple Ridge was given the opportunity to host the 2024 Summer Games and on March 24 council unanimously voted in favour of hosting.
“We appreciate that everyone is going to be disappointed and we fully understand the decision had to be made,” Maple Ridge Mayor Michael Morden said.
“I want to thank the volunteers for all their work, it’s been eight or nine months of significant work, as well as fundraising efforts. This is when a community comes together and really pulls all the stop out.”
He added the city spent about $50-million in recent years on recreation infrastructure improvements in anticipation of hosting the Games.
“We really were looking forward to putting that into overdrive and getting full use of it.”
Morden is pleased the 2024 Games will be held in Maple Ridge, though.
“Which is a little bit of good news amid a lot of difficult times here,” he added.
The 2024 Games will line align with the city’s 150th anniversary.
The BC Games bring valuable competitive opportunities for B.C.’s top young athletes, as well as that for the development of coaches and officials, while tourism and direct economic benefits to the host community.
The province invests close to $50-million in sport annually, including $2-million to the BC Games Society to support the biennial BC Summer and Winter Games, and prepare future Team BC athletes for the Canada Games. Each edition of the BC Games has a direct economic impact valued at $1.6 to $2.0-million.