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Inuvik leading Games bid
Town officially entering process to host 2018 AWG

Shawn Giilck
Northern News Services
Published Thursday, February 20, 2014

The Town of Inuvik is officially in the hunt to host the 2018 Arctic Winter Games with a little help from its friends.

During the Feb. 12 meeting, council passed a motion to submit its formal application to jointly host the games with the help of Fort McPherson, Aklavik and hopefully Tuktoyaktuk.

According to Mayor Floyd Roland, Tuktoyaktuk has yet to respond to the invitation extended by Inuvik, although he didn't seem overly concerned by that.

The town will now submit its application to host the games, which would be a split-venue venture with all of the partners hosting various competitions.

Inuvik would be the lead municipality in the partnership, which means it would likely host the opening and closing ceremonies and the bulk of the 3,000 competitors expected to attend.

Along with the application, the partners are hoping to send up to eight people to Fairbanks, Alaska, in March to observe this year's edition of the games.

A preliminary budget of $75,000 to put in the preliminary bid has been struck, which will be shared with the partners. How much each will contribute remained unclear at the meeting.

The prospect of those expenses didn't sit well with Coun. Terry Halifax. He was also a vocal critic at a committee of the whole meeting Feb. 10 about the cost of the bid, as well as questioning how Inuvik could accommodate that influx of people.

On Feb. 12, he bluntly asked Roland who would be going to Fairbanks.

"I don't want this to be a junket for politicians," Halifax said. "Who will be going?"

Halifax said there are a number of Inuvik people going to the games already, and many of them have extensive experience with their organization. The knowledge and experience of those people needed to be used, he suggested, rather than political and staff types.

Roland said Aklavik Mayor Charlie Furlong was the only person confirmed to be going. He tried to reassure Halifax that an effort would be made to take only people with relevant interests in the bid.

The cost for the trip to Fairbanks would come out of the preliminary budget, Roland said, and each municipality would pick up the costs for its own representatives.

The motion, moved by councillors Kurt Wainman and Alana Mero, carried unanimously despite Halifax's reservations.

The staff will now prepare the letter of intent, which will be submitted to Arctic Winter Games officials prior to the start of the 2014 games. No official deadline was announced for that letter to arrive.

Roland said there may be some other funding sources to tap into for the partners to add to their budget.

The total cost of hosting the games could be as high as $3.5 million.

The number of people attending the games would greatly exceed the current accommodations capacity of Inuvik and the delta area. If the bid is accepted, a great deal of work will have to be carried out to solve that problem.

At the Feb. 10 meeting, Roland said it was possible the Blueberry Patch on Kugmallit and Inuit roads could be torn down and replaced with some kind of housing units to place the athletes in. The new buildings would be turned back over to the GNWT at the end of the games, likely for future residential use.

The Blueberry Patch is currently awaiting demolition. It had been last used by Aurora College to house its students, but has since been condemned.

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