Katherine Wagner

Katherine Wagner

CITIZEN INK: Could Maple Ridge be part of 2030 Olympic bid?

As this community prepares to host the BC Summer Games in July, maybe we should dare to think bigger

by Katherine Wagner/Special to The News

On Feb. 22 of this year, the former president and CEO of VANOC, John Furlong, published an open letter asking people to just imagine: And the Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games of 2030 Have Been Awarded to British Columbia, Canada.

My fondest memory of the 2010 Winter Olympics occurred in my west Maple Ridge neighbourhood.

Following the gold medal hockey game, neighbours poured onto the streets.

We laughed, talked and high-fived. One neighbour shared homemade cookies.

It was a spontaneous coming together of friends and strangers – one small example of the community-building potential of large events.

The 10-year anniversary of the 2010 Winter Olympics reminds us of its financial success and infrastructure legacies.

Sports venues have been transformed into needed community and recreational facilities.

The Sea to Sky highway improvements greatly reduced accident rates.

The Millennium Line to the airport and the Vancouver Convention Centre are valuable additions to the region.

There are many less tangible benefits, such as motivating greater involvement in sports and fitness activities, attracting international attention and investment, and the one that is often overlooked – the community-building effect.Furlong writes: “The goal (of the Olympics) was to touch the soul of the country by coming alive in every Canadian home. To matter to every Canadian. Something we had in common with one another. A vision realized.”

RELATED: 2010 leader John Furlong urges Vancouver to bid for 2030 Winter Games

The Olympic and Paralympic Games forged, however briefly, connections between strangers and neighbours alike – connections we currently badly need to cultivate and reinforce.

They are vital to building and maintaining the strength of the fabric of our province and country.

This summer, Maple Ridge hosts a much smaller multi-sport event – The BC Summer Games.

School District 42 classrooms will be converted to dorms to house more than 3,000 athletes from around the province for the July 23 to 26, four-day event.

Similar to the Olympics, the opening ceremonies include an athletes parade and a games torch.

BC Games inspire and cultivate young athletes and even future Olympians.

Hosting is a fantastic opportunity for our community and will require the involvement of many citizens to be successful.

Mike Keenan, president of the Maple Ridge BC Summer Games board of directors, explains, “Upwards of 2,700 athletes, coaches, and officials from throughout the province will visit our city and another 3,000 community members will volunteer to make this event a reality. Needless to say, the Games will give us a chance to showcase our ever-growing community while allowing its citizens to come together around a common goal. I’m hopeful that many will step up to volunteer by visiting our office in the recently re-opened leisure centre or by going online to bcgames.org.”

Volunteer registration opened in January and they still need people to sign up.

This is Maple Ridge’s second time hosting the BC Summer Games.

PAST COLUMN: Definite benefits to be gained with Canada’s monarchy

Perhaps it is time to think bigger and consider if there is an opportunity for Maple Ridge to join a bid for the 2030 Olympics?

The new IOC rules allow for a larger geographic footprint for the Games.

There is potential to tap into sponsorship monies and funding from other levels of government.

Maple Ridge needs additional community facilities and transportation options, and there would be 10 years to facilitate the development of local housing and hotel accommodation – and possibly a smaller scale convention centre.

What other possibilities are there?

We can look to the examples of other British Columbia municipalities that benefited from the 2010 Winter Olympics.

For example, the Richmond Olympic Oval was specifically designed for post-Games use and is now a reconfigured multi-sport community arena.

Let’s at least take the opportunity to engage in exploration and discussion around a vision for the future of our community.

At the least, the 2030 Olympics may only serve as a frame to start creating a path toward something we can unite behind achieving.

In the meantime, let’s make the 2020 BC Summer Games the best one yet.

– Katherine Wagner is a member of the Citizens’ Task Force on Transparency, a former school trustee and member of Golden Ears Writers

_________________________________

• If there is more to this story, please let us know about it. Email us at editor@mapleridgenews.com. We look forward to hearing from you. In the meantime, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.

BC Summer GamesColumnistOlympics

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Gabriel Fitzpatrick and Shae Laing both received the Kwantlen Polytechnic University Dean’s Award for Outstanding Achievement in Masonry. (Colleen Flanagan/The News)
Maple Ridge students receive top honours in masonry

Received Kwantlen Polytechnic University’s Dean’s Award for Outstanding Achievement in Masonry

Tommy Picco lost his life to an overdose in October, 2020. (Special to The News)
Grieving Maple Ridge mother calls for decriminalization of drugs for Black Balloon Day

Five people died in Maple Ridge this January of suspected illicit drug toxicity overdose

Tyson Phare has moved from the Ridge Meadows Flames to Junior A hockey in Ontario.
Two Flames players moving up to Junior A hockey

Maple Ridge boys Duff and Phare leaving hometown Junior B squad

Flight Sergeant Samantha Laverton of 583 Royal Canadian Air Cadet Squadron in Maple Ridge will be performing in The Commonwealth Day Cadet Band Concert. (Special to The News)
Maple Ridge cadet to perform in concert celebrating Commonwealth

Flight Sergeant Samantha Laverton will be performing with cadets from the U.K and Australia

The hall as it appears today. (Special to The News)
Heritage Japanese Meeting Hall starts new life as a child care centre

Now used as a church, site will be developed for six houses

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry head for the B.C. legislature press theatre to give a daily update on the COVID-19 pandemic, April 6, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C. nears 300,000 COVID-19 vaccinations, essential workers next

564 new cases, four deaths, no new outbreaks Thursday

Shiromali Krishnaraj arrives from India and receives a mandatory COVID-19 test at Pearson International Airport during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto on Monday, Feb. 1, 2021. B.C.’s approved rapid tests also use a nasal swab, with a machine to scan for COVID-19 antibodies. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
B.C.’s rapid COVID-19 tests have produced only two positive results

Tests deployed for exposures in schools, outbreaks in care homes, jails

BC Emergency Health Services confirmed that a call was received just before 10 a.m. Ground paramedics, as well as an air ambulance, are on the way to the area. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)
BREAKING: Helicopter goes down on Bowen Island

Unclear how many passengers aboard and unclear where the helicopter was going

The Nanaimo bar display at the Nanaimo Museum. (City of Nanaimo Instagram)
City of Nanaimo points to correct recipe after New York Times botches batch of bars

City addresses ‘controversy’ around dessert square’s layers

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A man holds a picture of Chantel Moore during a healing gathering at the B.C. Legislature in Victoria on June 18, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. First Nation demands transparency in probe into second fatal RCMP shooting

‘Police have killed more Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation members than COVID’

Statue of Lady Justice at B.C. Supreme Court in New Westminster. (File photo: Tom Zytaruk)
Surrey man found guilty in murder of his wife in 2018

Rizig Bona’s next court date is today

Hope’s station house, moved from its original location along the railroad to 111 Old Hope Princeton Way. (Emelie Peacock/Hope Standard)
Citizens file B.C. Ombudsperson complaint against Hope Council in Station House fracas

Demolition contract has been awarded, completed by April 30

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C. on the COVID-19 situation. (B.C. government)
Dr. Bonnie Henry predicts a ‘post-pandemic world’ for B.C. this summer

‘Extending this second dose provides very high real-world protection to more people, sooner’

Most Read