Even though he’s disappointed, Arctic Winter Games Bid Committee Co-Chair Owen Lewis respects their decision. On Wednesday, the Arctic Winter Games International Committee announced they had given the 2022 games to the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo. While he believes Grande Prairie would have been a great place to host the games, Lewis wished Wood Buffalo well.
“Certainly we’re disappointed. I think Grande Prairie would have been an ideal location for the 2022 games. The committee put together a tremendous bid and had a great tour with the Arctic Winter Games Selection committee but we wish Wood Buffalo and Fort McMurry all the best with the games in 2022.”
The games are an international sporting competition and Indigenous culture showcase held every two years. They will return to Wood Buffalo for the first time since 2004. Grande Prairie last hosted them in 2010. The Region and the city were the last two places in the running when the selection committee came here on January 14th.
Lewis wasn’t given a reason why one was chosen over the other. In a statement put out by the AWGIC on Wednesday, Site Selection Committee Vice-President and Chair John Rodda said it was a tough decision but in the end, they went with Wood Buffalo.
Lewis says he will now turn his attention to helping with the games in whatever way he can. He says he enjoyed putting the bid together and showcasing the area.
“It was a great process to go through and to put together the bid for the games. It allowed us to really see what it is that makes Grande Prairie unique and the incredible community we have here, the tremendous facilities, the cultural opportunities. While we’re able to showcase that for the selection committee it helped to reintroduce us as a committee to everything that the region has to offer.”
If the city was interested in bidding for the games again, Lewis says it would be at least another 6 years after the 2022 games for them to return to the area.