Games planning underway

Jane Groenewagen, left, John Rodda, Andrew Cassidy, and Robert Bouchard take part in the signing Wednesday afternoon. June 10, 2015

Jane Groenewagen, left, John Rodda, Andrew Cassidy, and Robert Bouchard take part in the signing.

The competition has closed, the papers have been signed, and now all that’s left is to put on the largest sporting event the South Slave has ever seen.

“Moving forward, we’re looking at getting everybody on track, asking the key people to step up,” said host committee president Greg Rowe. “We want to go through our bid and budget and identify things we may be able to improve now.”

But before the real work begins, the 12 directors and yet-to-be-hired executive assistant are scheduled to be headed to Sandy Lake, Alta., for something of a corporate retreat in mid-August to get them all on the same page and ready to go.

“It’s to get us all together, away from distractions, to talk about our mission statement,” Rowe said. “It’ll be a great opportunity for team-building and just to really get to know each other.”

Rowe said the process has been slow to get started. He credited summertime and families being busy and out of town for the slow pace, but was confident that things would pick up in the fall. Already there are discussions about things as specific as what kind of beds should be used for the athlete and where to get them from. Bunk beds have been offered from the last Canada Winter Games, which were held in Prince George, B.C, earlier this year, but storage and the feasibility of putting close to 1,000 bunk beds together in a few days remain concerns.

“It’s a pretty exciting process, I have to admit,” said Rob Wilkins, former chair for security on the bid committee and now one of the directors of the host society. “It’s a real opportunity for our region to showcase what it means to live here and be involved in sport in our region. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”

Wilkins said the work can be overwhelming, but he also said knowing who was involved from both Hay River and Fort Smith, he was confident it would all get done.

“We’ve got this ocean to boil, and we’re going to do it one pot at a time, as they say,” he said.

Rowe also acknowledged the tremendous amount of work the society is bearing, but didn’t regret it for a minute.

“This isn’t a sprint,” he said. “This is going to be a marathon.”