There is officially one year to go until the start of the Maple Ridge 2020 BC Summer Games.
Dignitaries were on hand for the official flag unveiling outside city hall Monday to mark the milestone.
Maple Ridge Mayor Mike Morden considers the Games to be a great opportunity to showcase the community to the rest of the province.
“It’s been 20 years now since we last hosted the Summer Games,” said Morden, a former volunteer and director at two previous Games.
“I can tell you this, there is nothing more amazing than to come together and work for an event that brings all the positive things out in a community event,” he added.
He also said Maple Ridge is going to have some “amazing” recreational facilities that will assist with delivering the Games, giving credit to the previous council.
Morden is pleased with the volunteers who are stepping forward now to help with the Games.
“It’s a testament to the 30 per cent of the community who always step up and volunteer, which is so amazing to always watch.”
Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows MLA Lisa Beare said that the Games are an economic driver, with people coming from across the province to experience what Maple Ridge has to offer.
For the athletes, she said, it is an opportunity for them to make new friends and to excel at sports that they have been training in.
“Most importantly, it’s to get that next generation of athletes involved in sports so they are able to explore their athletic potential.”
She added that the Games are also a way to develop not only athletes, but coaches and officials who are able to gain important multi-sport experience for higher levels of competition.
Maple Ridge-Mission MLA Bob D’Eith estimates that the Games will bring about $2 million into the area.
In addition to that economic impact, he said,there will also be sports infrastructure left as a legacy for residents to enjoy.
“We rarely get the kind of opportunity to have something of this scale locally like this, so it will really be great for everybody in Maple Ridge to participate.”
Tom Bowen, vice-president of the Maple Ridge 2020 BC Summer Games, said that the flag-raising symbolizes the beginning of the process for the city, awareness for the community, the ability for the community to ask questions and for the directors to be able to promote the Games for next summer.
He said people should come out and see all the athletes compete.
“Having seen athletes compete at this level, at this age in the past, a lot of people may be surprised at the abilities they have and what they can show,” said Bowen.
Alison Noble, president and CEO of the BC Games Society, explained that in July 2020, 2,784 athletes, 549 coaches and 365 officials will arrive in Maple Ridge.
“One year out is a really special time for a community,” said Noble.
The community can start feeling the excitement, said Noble, and get on board by volunteering.
“It just makes it feel like something is going to happen here.”
For the athletes coming to the Games, Noble said, for some, this will be their first multi-sport games experience.
“So it will be a very special pivotal moment for them and their athletic career,” added Noble.
Mike Keenan, president of the Maple Ridge 2020 BC Summer Games, said the biggest benefit of hosting the Games is that it will bring the community together.
“I personally have had the benefit of participating in four previous Summer Games, twice as an adult athlete and twice as a coach, and one of the biggest positive parts to that is people get to meet new people,” said Keenan.
The Maple Ridge 2020 BC Summer Games take place July 23 to 26, 2020.