By Graeme McNaughton/The Oshawa Express
The province’s top para-athletes may soon be coming to Durham Region.
Regional councillors will be asked to endorse Sport Durham’s bid, submitted earlier this year, to host the 2019 edition of the Ontario Parasport Games, as well as authorize a grant of $20,000 to go towards the event.
“For more than a decade, Durham Region has worked to achieve an inclusive and accessible environment; one that preserves dignity and independence for individuals of all abilities,” says Brian Bridgeman, the region’s commissioner of planning and economic development, in an emailed statement to The Oshawa Express.
“As a result of this strong leadership, Sport Durham – in partnership with other community organizations and volunteers – decided to complete the necessary research and due diligence for a potential bid to host the 2019 Ontario ParaSport Games.”
If the bid is successful, the region can expect to see more than 400 participants, including approximately 260 athletes, come to the region in either February or March of 2019 to take part in eight to 10 sports, including swimming, wheelchair rugby and wheelchair basketball.
Bridgeman says hosting the event would not only be a great opportunity to host a provincial event in the region, but also an economic boon.
“Winning the right to host these games would boost our local economy by about $500,000,” he says.
“But for us, it is about more than just economic factors. It would offer the chance to strengthen inclusion far beyond our borders, while creating legacy opportunities here at home.”
And to add to that, the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport has advised that it will give a hosting grant of $110,000 for the games.
The report, due to be presented to councillors for the first time at the next committee of the whole meeting, does not indicate when a decision on the host community for the 2019 games will be announced.