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

RE/MAX LifeStyles Realty donated $3,500 to the Christmas Hamper Society. (Maple Ridge Pitt Meadows Christmas Hamper Society/Special to The News)
Christmas hamper deadline extended for residents of Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows

Anyone needing help needs to get in touch with the Maple Ridge Pitt Meadows Christmas Hamper Society

Jacob Mattson was delighted once he completed 250 laps of the Maple Ridge Secondary School’s track. (Special to The News)
Maple Ridge man runs mega-marathon for Movember

Jacob Mattson, 25, only started running frequently nine months ago

Lynn Martin captures this picture of the Golden Ears Mountain from her sundeck on 230th Street in Maple Ridge earlier this year. If forecasters are correct, we could be seeing a fair amount of snow on those mountain peaks again this winter. (Special to The News)
SHARE: Expected view sometime very soon

Send us your photo showing how you view Maple Ridge or Pitt Meadows, and it could be featured soon

The City of Maple Ridge has cancelled the Christmas Convoy. (Colleen Flanagan/THE NEWS)
Santa Claus won’t be coming to Maple Ridge this year

The city’s Christmas Convoy has been cancelled along with photographs at ValleyFair Mall

Poor maps have resulted in hikers being led into dangerous terrain, and rescued by helicopter. (Ridge Meadows Search and Rescue)
Ridge Meadows search team lauds new maps of Golden Ears

Poor online maps led to helicopter rescues earlier this year

A B.C. Ambulance Service paramedic wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 moves a stretcher outside an ambulance at Royal Columbia Hospital, in New Westminster, B.C., on Sunday, November 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. records deadliest weekend of COVID-19 pandemic with 46 deaths; more than 2,300 cases

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry provides COVID-19 update

B.C. researchers launch study to test kids, young adults for COVID-19 antibodies

Kids and youth can often be asymptomatic carriers of the novel coronavirus

Paramedics register patients at a drive through, pop-up COVID-19 test centre outside the Canadian Tire Centre, home of the NHL’s Ottawa Senators, in Ottawa, Sunday, Sept. 20, 2020. A new poll suggests most Canadians aren’t currently worried that people in other countries might get a COVID-19 vaccine first. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
Canadians not worried other countries will get COVID-19 vaccine first: poll

Forty-one per cent of respondents say they want the vaccine to be mandatory for all Canadians

Fossil finds at Mt. Stephen. (Photo: Sarah Fuller/Parks Canada)
Extreme hiking, time travel and science converge in the Burgess Shale

Climb high in the alpine and trace your family tree back millions of years – to our ocean ancestors

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

Menno Place. (Google Street View image.)
32 family members respond to Abbotsford care home’s plea for staffing help during COVID-19 outbreak

Menno Home asks for relief workers for food service, laundry and housekeeping

Kettle bells sit aligned in an indoor fitness studio. (PIxabay.com)
1 COVID-19 case at a B.C. fitness studio leads to 104 more infections, 6 school exposures

According to case data released by Fraser Health, one case of the novel coronavirus carries a big impact

Vehicles drive past a display thanking essential workers in Burnaby, B.C. on Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marissa Tiel
B.C. changing COVID-19 case reporting as virus spread continues

Manual counting takes more time, leads to errors

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Mask fundraiser helps make children’s wishes come true

From Black Press Media + BraveFace – adult, youth and kid masks support Make-A-Wish Foundation

Most Read