To reduce the spread of COVID-19 and protect the health of British Columbians, the 2020 BC Summer Games that were scheduled for July 23-26 in Maple Ridge have been cancelled.
“Keeping British Columbians safe and healthy is our top priority. Through conversations with leadership at the BC Games Society, it became clear that there was no viable path forward to host the Games this year and that they must now be cancelled,” said Lisa Beare, Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture. “I’m so thrilled that the Maple Ridge Council, BC Games Society, School District 42 and the local organizing committee were able to respond quickly, and that we can now all look forward to the 2024 BC Summer Games in Maple Ridge.”
While the full extent and impact felt from the COVID-19 outbreak remains unknown, B.C.’s Health Minister Adrian Dix and Chief Provincial Health Officer Bonnie Henry have advised to restrict large gatherings, travel and physical interaction. Cancelling the 2020 Games supports efforts to contain the spread of the virus and focus available resources and public attention on overcoming the pandemic.
“It is very unfortunate for athletes and coaches across the province who will not have a BC Games experience this summer, but this is bigger than all of us,” said Alison Noble, President and CEO of the BC Games Society. “We need to respect this issue and take socially responsible action. We look forward to the Games resuming in the future.”
The BC Games are held every two years. Greater Vernon will host the 2022 BC Winter Games and the 2022 BC Summer Games will be in Prince George. The City of Maple Ridge was given the opportunity to host the 2024 Summer Games and on March 24 council unanimously voted in favour of hosting.
“This is the right decision. We stand in solidarity with Minister Beare and the BC Games Society leadership team in putting the health and safety of citizens as the first priority,” said Maple Ridge Mayor Mike Morden. “Working with Minister Beare, the BC Games Society, School District 42 and the local organizing committee we have reached an agreement to have Maple Ridge be the host city for the 2024 BC Summer Games. Our community will be ready to welcome the athletes, coaches and their families for an outstanding Summer Games competition.”
The BC Games brings valuable competitive opportunities for British Columbia’s best young athletes and developing coaches and officials, help volunteers gain skills and experiences and attract local tourism and direct economic benefits to the host community. The BC Games Society will maintain a dialogue with the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture on how best to support Games participants and recognize the volunteers.
· The Province invests close to $50 million in sport annually, including $2 million to the BC Games Society to support the biennial BC Summer and Winter Games, and prepare future Team BC athletes for the Canada Games.
· Each edition of the BC Games has a direct economic impact valued at $1.6 to $2.0 million.