The communities of Westlock and Barrhead have been successful in their bid to co-host the Alberta 55-Plus Summer Games in 2013.
Minister of Tourism, Parks and Recreation Cindy Ady made the announcement on Thursday morning before a crowd of about 50 people at the Golden Age Drop-in Centre.
“These games are a great opportunity for older Albertans to have fun competing and show us the benefits of remaining healthy and active,” said Ady, in a news release. “I know the communities of Barrhead and Westlock will host a very successful Games.”
Ady also announced that both communities will receive a $175,000 grant in support of the 55-Plus Summer Games through the Alberta Sport, Recreation, Parks and Wildlife Foundation.
Westlock County and the Town of Westlock had collaborated with the Town of Barrhead and the County of Barrhead on a joint bid to host the games earlier this year.
In fact, the meeting on Thursday had been intended as the last chance for local officials to convince the province to bring the 55-Plus Games here.
The collaboration between the two municipalities was frequently cited as part of the reason the two communities were selected as the hosts.
“We thank you so much for awarding us the bid,” said town CAO Darrell Garceau, who led the bid committee comprised of representatives from all four municipalities.
During the meeting, Ady thanked the people of Westlock for standing by the residents of Slave Lake and providing them shelter.
“It tells me a lot about you,” she said.
Town councilor Clem Fagnan said that, after the recent disaster in Slave Lake, all communities in Alberta have proved volunteerism is alive and well with their show of support for the displaced residents.
He said that working with Barrhead is a good opportunity for the four municipalities to grow together.
Barrhead-Morinville-Westlock MLA Ken Kowalski, who had organized the meeting on Thursday and invited the minister out to Westlock, said he was thrilled that they were chosen as the host communities.
As part of the 55-Plus Summer Games, more than 1,000 participants and spectators will converge on the two communities to compete in a range of events.