Whitehorse wants to use FSJ speed skating oval for 2027 Canada Winter Games

FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – The City of Whitehorse is looking to utilize Fort St. John’s long track speed skating ov…

FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – The City of Whitehorse is looking to utilize Fort St. John’s long track speed skating oval during the 2027 Canada Winter Games.

As part of Whitehorse and the Yukon governments’ bid to host the games, they’re eyeing the Energetic City to host the long-track speedskating event and an athlete’s village from February 21st to 28th, 2027.

On Monday, Fort St. John council will decide whether or not to sign a memorandum of understanding to host the event. A vote will also take place to decide on waiving up to $20,000 in fees for the use of the Pomeroy Sport Centre for the event. Council initially voted in favour of hosting the events during a closed meeting in January.

In a February 14th report to council, Community Services Director Karin Carlson believes the city could see $124,000 in visitor spending. Fort St. John reported $990.72 of spending per family during the 2020 games.

“The Yukon Bid committee has indicated we should expect 125 athletes, most of whom will likely have family staying in Fort St. John to watch the competition,” said Carlson.

The City of Whitehorse and the Government of Yukon launched the bid process last fall, with an official decision on who will host the games slated for November 2022.

The process takes around 13 months, with Whitehorse planning to submit a final bid package in May. A technical review will be conducted in April 2022, and a comprehensive review will be conducted in October 2022.

“The Bid Committee evaluated its options for providing a venue for long track speed skating, and determined that the best choice would be the impressive indoor facility in Fort St. John,” said Piers McDonald, Chair of the Bid Committee.

“It is better for the athletes’ experience, and more reliable and cost effective than an outdoor option. We are confident the Canada Games Council will receive this option favourably.”

The Fort St. John Elk’s Speedskating Club agreed to run the competitions if the bid is approved, according to Carlson.

“This is a very exciting opportunity to host the Long-Track Speed Skating events for the 2027 Canada Winter Games,” said Wim Kok, Vice President for the Fort St. John Elks Speed Skating Club, in a statement. “We look forward to working with the cities of Whitehorse and Fort St. John to deliver an exceptional event for our Country’s speed skaters.”

Carlson says the event dates also align “nicely” with the High on Ice Winter Festival from February 12th to 15th.

“The planning, theme and carvings can be designed to support the Canada Winter Games event, giving the athletes that are in Fort St. John a unique experience they can only receive in the City,” wrote Carlson.

During the Canada Winter Games in 2015, Fort St. John hosted the speed skating events after being moved from Prince George. It is one of four indoor Olympic-sized long track speed skating ovals in North America.

“As winter citizens, we do winter well and so without a doubt, we are pleased to support the City of Whitehorse in their bid for the 2027 Canada Winter Games and we look forward to hosting our Country’s best Long-Track Speed Skaters at the Pomeroy Sport Centre,” stated Mayor Lori Ackerman.


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