By Erika Mathieu
Westwind Weekly News
The town of Coaldale has been confirmed to host for The 2024, Southern Alberta Summer Games (SASG).
This year’s games will mark the return to normal programming for the first time since 2019. In 2020 and 2021, the games could not be held due to COVID-19 restrictions. In 2022, various competitive events were held across multiple municipalities rather than by one municipal partner, which has historically been the case. In May of 2023, the Southern Alberta Recreation Association (SARA) was unable to secure a host community for the games.
The 2024 event will be held in part, at the new hybrid recreation centre and high school in Coaldale which is set to be operational by the spring of 2024.
According to a Sept. 22 release, published by SARA, the 2024 SASG will take place from July 3rd to 6th and will include individual and team events, with over 2,000 athletes and coaches expected to be in attendance.
Mayor of the Town of Coaldale, Jack Van Rijn said, “This is great news for the Town of Coaldale. A lot of people don’t realize this, but before they came to a halt during the pandemic, the Southern Alberta Summer Games were the longest running amateur Games in western Canada. So for Coaldale to be chosen to host the 2024 Games, and to be able to bring them back to life after a four year hiatus, is certainly not lost on our Council. We look forward to welcoming everyone who participates in the Games to our community.”
Van Rijn added that the Town’s involvement with the upcoming event aligns with council strategic plan for the current council term (2021-2025).
In a release published by SARA on Sept. 22, Van Rijn explained, the Town’s strategic plan, “identifies supporting major recreational events driven by the community to attract visitors, enhance community, pride, and fuel our economy.
He continued, “so when we were presented with the opportunity to host the SASG right on the heels of a brand new recreation centre, we jumped on it.”
Director of Recreation and Community Services for the Town of Coaldale, Russ Tanner commented with the grand opening of the new facility slated for spring, 2024, he, “can’t think of a better way to showcase this facility than by hosting a major sporting event such as the SASG.”
Tanner added, “On top of that, we’re proud to be the first community to host the Games since the Town of Pincher Creek in 2019. The Southern Alberta Summer Games began over 50 years ago and the Town of Coaldale is ready to bring them back to life after a 4-year hiatus. I can’t wait to welcome all of the coaches, athletes, and fans who come to participate.”
“This is exactly the kind of sporting event that our new rec center was designed to facilitate and that our community can rally around. It’s going to be an amazing experience for everybody involved,” Tanner added.
Van Rijn said, “it’s estimated that the games will cost us $92,500. The total goal for grants and fundraising is $39,000, with the remaining $53,500 to be sourced though working with other stakeholders such as Lethbridge County and neighbouring communities.
SARA is a not-for-profit organization focused on supporting recreation in southern Alberta abd was incorporated 50 years ago in 1973.