Council declines offer to host Tour of Alberta

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Olds will not host a start point for the Tour of Alberta this year.

On advice from administration, council rejected Tour of Alberta’s request to have Olds host the Stage 4 start during its March 14 meeting.

Chief operating officer Doug Wagstaff said the main issue was timing. The request for a $100,000 hosting rights fee was not budgeted for. The town also needed time to gauge the community’s appetite and ability for hosting the event.

“For us to build the capacity, we would be looking for the September 2017 date. That would align with our timing, both in the budgeting process as well as engaging our community to see if that’s the type of event we would be collectively interested in doing,” Wagstaff said.

“Whether it was $100,000, whether it was $20,000, it wasn’t something we had planned on.”

Tour of Alberta had also approached Mountain View County with its offer.

If part of the race was going to be held in Olds, it would “no doubt” be done in partnership with the county, Wagstaff said.

“We did the groundwork together, to see the logistics and it was a great idea we agreed with. It’s just that for September 2016, given the environment we’re in with our budgets and given that short timeline, we both came to a conclusion that it was going to be difficult at best for us to be able to do it this year.”

Spending money on a hosting fee following budget cuts appeared to be a path council was not willing to choose.

“This was a very difficult budget. We had to make some needs decisions, not wants. To go back and say we would try and find $50,000, I know our council would not have been comfortable with that,” said Mayor Judy Dahl.

“It really did seem very evident that we did not have the volunteer capacity to be able to do this in such a short time frame.”

Olds is just the latest municipality to decline the Tour’s offer to host either a start or finish point. Both Okotoks and Airdrie rejected offers this month.

The town and county would have had to provide numerous services and amenities: police, public works, first aid, portable toilets, handwashing stations, waste management, security, parking, an anthem singer, Internet, among others.

A local host organizing committee would have needed to be created.

Dahl added that she wished tour organizers well and would welcome them to consider Olds again in the future.

“Absolutely. We’re always up for a challenge.”

jho@olds.greatwest.ca

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