Nearly one year to go until 2016 Games

The 365 Days to Go event is just around the corner as the Abbotsford 2016 BC Summer Games is slated to kick off next July.

The one-year countdown to the 2016 Abbotsford BC Summer Games is about to begin.

On July 21, a 365 Days to Go event is being held, with four Abbotsford Hall of Fame inductees confirming their attendance.

Rugby star and BC Summer Games alum Harry Toews will be there, along with wrestling gold medalist Cory Kwak, as well as Dave Miller, world class water skiier and founding member of the Fraser Valley Water Ski Club, and Jack Robertson, a community builder who spearheaded the creation of Rotary Stadium among other local projects, and who was the founding president of the Abbotsford Hall of Fame.

The celebration at Thunderbird Plaza (behind city hall) will run from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., featuring local entertainment, including singers and First Nations dancers, as well as food and refreshments provided by local food vendors.

Entry is free, and additional information regarding the 2016 Summer Games will be available.

Abbotsford BC Summer Games board president Steve Carlton said, “The Games legacy is alive and well in Abbotsford.”

Abbotsford last hosted the Games in 2004, which Carlton said was a great success.

“We have a fabulous history of volunteers, and welcome anyone with or without experience.”

There are currently 125 key volunteers, directors and chair members working on communications, accommodations, transportation and food, and they are looking for another 3,000 volunteers to help in every area.

There is a major amount of planning and organization left to accomplish, said Carlton. Go to bcgames.org for further details.

The main hub of Games action will be the Rotary Stadium facility. Three new fields at W.J. Mouat Secondary – adjacent to Rotary Stadium – are also being converted to all-weather turf to accommodate some of the field sports such as rugby and field hockey.

In addition, Abbotsford Senior Secondary and the University of the Fraser Valley will host competition events, although the specific sports other than volleyball have yet to be established.

Carlton said businesses are encouraged to donate money, materials or services.

Any surplus funds will go to a legacy fund to benefit the City of Abbotsford.

The 2004 Abbotsford Games left a community legacy of over $174,000. Of that money, $100,000 went to the Abbotsford Community Foundation for student bursaries and scholarships. The University of Fraser Valley received $46,000, while the city took in the remaining amount which was used to purchase a saddle tent still used at various local events, according to Carlton.

The BC Summer Games feature the best young developing athletes in the province, supported by certified coaches and officials.

Abbotsford expects to welcome more than 3,500 participants in 18 sports. The games will include three days of competition between July 22 and 24; and conclude with a closing ceremony on the 24th.

According to a city news release, the Games could infuse as much as $2 million into the local economy.

At last year’s event in Nanaimo, the overall direct spending impact generated was nearly $2 million, including $1.1 million in spending by participants, families and other spectators over the four days.

With the addition of indirect and induced effects, the Nanaimo Games estimated just over $4 million was injected into the local economy.