In just over three months, thousands of people will descend upon the West Kootenay for the BC Seniors Games, and officials are busy working to make sure the area is prepared.
“Our facilities are in great shape,” said 2011 Games president Pat Metge.
It’s a good thing, too, because between Castlegar, Nelson and Trail there are 27 venues for a variety of events which range from soccer to one-act plays.
Next week, Games officials — from the West Kootenay as well as the headquarters in Victoria — will board buses to tour each venue site.
Areas at each venue will be picked for security and medical services while on the tour.
“The technical people from Victoria can tell us from their sporting point of view if it’s a good site,” Metge said.
Metge feels optimistic about each venue passing the test, but he said some venues may need slight upgrades.
A couple of venues, such as the Pass Creek Exhibition Grounds (where horseshoes will be held) aren’t fully built yet. (Area J Director Gord Zaitsoff has donated the pitches for that competition but they haven’t been installed yet.)
Next on the list of pre-games events is the torch lighting celebration, scheduled for May 10 at 7:30 p.m. at the Castlegar Complex.
“That really is the countdown to the games,” Metge said of the event. “We will be within 100 days to the games.”
During the celebration, there will be a short parade of senior athletes and speeches. Once the torch is lit, it will be transported to Trail for the opening ceremonies.
Between now and the days leading up to the games, directors and officials will be busy securing accommodation, registrants and entertainment.
“There will be major entertainment venues in Nelson, Castlegar and Trail,” Metge said.
Officials have expanded accommodation to Red Mountain, he said, by utilizing the resort’s condos.
Although Metge didn’t have a number on how many athletes have registered so far, if the amount of people visiting the website is any indication, there will be a healthy turnout.
“We’ve had 24,000 hits on that site, so there’s certainly people out there and they’re interested,” he said.
Metge said they’ve been fortunate with the number of sponsors that have stepped forward to act as “Friends of the Games”, including Black Press, Teck Cominco, Heritage Credit Union, Kootenay Savings Credit Union, Nelson & District Credit Union, Xerox, Columbia Basin Trust, Mountain FM and Zellstoff Celgar.
There is still time to become a sponsor, Metge said, by contacting Darlene Kalawsky or Lori Woodhouse.
Information on volunteering or participating in the games is available at: 2011bcseniorsgames.org.