BAY ROBERTS, NL — The Town of Bay Roberts received some good news at the closing ceremonies of the Newfoundland and Labrador Winter Games in Deer Lake Saturday.
The Conception Bay North town was officially declared host community for the 2020 Newfoundland and Labrador Summer Games. Mayor Philip Wood and recreation director Ian Flynn were in Deer Lake for the announcement.
“I see this as a town-building process,” Wood told the Compass Monday morning. “As we all strive together to make this the best games ever, it sort of pulls the community together, and we’ve always had lots of pride in the town and we’ve also had a great volunteer base.”
The wheels were set in motion formally last year to put together bids for the 2020 Summer Games. Bay Roberts has invested heavily in upgrading the town’s recreation facilities in recent years, guided by its recreation master plan adopted in 2014.
The Wilbur Sparkes Recreation Complex is due to have a new clubhouse, beach volleyball courts and additional parking installed in 2019.
“We think that with the timeline we’re given from when the announcement was made to when we have the games that we’ll be good to go for 2020,” Flynn said Monday, noting Bay Roberts will partner with the Town of Carbonear for the event. The latter community will host track and field and swimming events.
Beyond giving the town further impetus to upgrade recreation facilities, Wood views the Summer Games as an economic opportunity.
“We’re going to have a couple of thousand people coming through Bay Roberts in 2020, but we’re also hoping with the attention on the town for the next number of years that more people will come to Bay Roberts and see what it’s all about.”
Wood also believes the games will not only be good for Bay Roberts, but Conception Bay North as a whole. There’s a chance too those who travel to the area for the Summer Games may decide to visit again someday based on the experience, he said.
Flynn indicated there will be some provincial government funds coming the town’s way to help with hosting the games, though the details at this point need to be ironed out. The recreation director needs to create a priority list of items to address between now and the summer of 2020. One item that stands out for Flynn is outdoor lighting for the newly constructed ball field.
Having put together previous bids to host the Summer Games, Flynn said it is satisfying to see Bay Roberts finally get a shot. Children, Seniors and Social Development Minister Lisa Dempster reportedly told Flynn and Wood the town’s pitch for 2020 was a strong one. Flynn also credited local MHA Pam Parsons for serving as a booster for the Summer Games bid.
“We’re really looking forward to it,” he said. “There’s a great buzz in the community.”
Gold sponsors for the event will carry over from the recently completed Winter Games, and the town will not need to spend money on designing a logo for the event, as that is now a standardized feature. The same goes for a games mascot and website.
“It’s going to be an exciting number of years as we prepare for it, to say the least,” said Wood.
Meetings are already being scheduled to establish committees in preparation for the event. A public gathering to help celebrate the successful bid is also set to be held Monday, March 26 at the Shearstown Community Centre starting at 7:30 p.m.
BIG ANNOUNCEMENT!!! Our summer games in 2020 will be hosted in Bay Roberts. So exciting!! pic.twitter.com/vUO6pJ0qyz— NLGames (@nlgames) March 17, 2018