Friday, September 19, 2014
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City lends support to First Nation Winter Games

Tyler Clarke

Prince Albert Herald

Pledging $50,000 toward the 2014 Saskatchewan First Nation Winter Games on behalf of the city on Monday, Mayor Greg Dionne said that it’s a win-win situation.

“To us, it’s a small investment on the return that we’re going to get,” Dionne explained.

“You can’t get a hotel room in the city for the week of the games -- we’ve had to use three schools to house all of the athletes.

“People will know when they’re out shopping or at our restaurants or a gas station -- they’re certainly going to know that the (First Nation) Winter Games are in Prince Albert.”

Games manager Mel Mercredi’s latest estimate has about 3,600 athletes coming in for the week of April 20 -- 1,850 for the first half of the week and 1,750 during the second half.

He’s estimated that an additional 5,000 spectators will attend the games.

“Over the past year we’ve been working with the city staff and (we will be) utilizing all of their facilities throughout the whole week of the upcoming games,” he said.

“They’ve been very helpful in working with us and getting the city ready in regards to all of the venues for sporting events that have to take place during that time.”

Joined by delegates from the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations, and Prince Albert Grand Council, Grand Chief Ron Michel signed a partnership with the City of Prince Albert on Monday, reaffirming what he described as an already strong relationship.

“I think on behalf of the 12 chiefs we appreciate the co-operation that we have from your council and the city,” he told Dionne, who in turn echoed Michel’s sentiment.

“We have a great partnership with the (Prince Albert) Grand Council and the FSIN on building a better community, so through sports and culture this is a great way to do it.”

The $50,000 pledged on Monday on behalf of the City of Prince Albert will go toward the games’ general operations, which will cost about $1 million to put on, Mercredi said.

Although Dionne said that games organizers will have to pay for the use of civic facilities, they’ve been working hand in hand with organizers from the get-go, and have kept the ice in later than usual at both the Art Hauser Centre and the Steuart Arena.  

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