Volunteers for ‘heavy-duty job’

Fort Smith town council to vote on six finalists for AWG's host society

Paul Bickford | THEBACHA/FORT SMITH
April 20, 2015

Six volunteers in Fort Smith are being recommended to make up half of the host society committee for the 2018 Arctic Winter Games in the South Slave.

The final decision on the appointments will be made by Fort Smith town council at its meeting April 21.

The six volunteers – Don Webb, Kevin Smith, Jessica Cox, Rashmi Patel, Dana Fergusson and Shari Olsen – have been recommended by a committee of council.

Mayor Brad Brake noted the town received 10 applications, although one was later withdrawn, when a call for expressions of interest closed at the end of the workday on Friday.

“Obviously, it would have been better to have more, but I’m quite satisfied with the selection of people that was made,” he said. “I think we’ve got a very good team there.”

The mayor said the volunteers are willing to take on a very big commitment.

“It’s a heavy-duty job, I think,” he said.

“Being responsible for the directional body of games that has a $7.3-million total budget, it’s a big deal.”

Plus, he thinks they are the right mix of people with the necessary energy and knowledge.

Webb said he submitted his name for the host society committee because he had been involved in the bid process, which involved a joint bid from Hay River and Fort Smith.

“I just want to see it go forward, and go forward with the co-operation of both communities so that we can attain really, really good community relations, and have the best facilities and the best event for the athletes,” he said.

Webb is also pleased with the five other potential members of the host society committee from Fort Smith, noting he has worked with them before on different projects.

“They’ve all got pretty good ideas. They’re all dedicated. They keep themselves well informed,” he said.

“Yeah, I’m pretty pumped.”

While Webb and Smith are members of Fort Smith town council, they volunteered to serve on the host society as individuals, not as representatives of the municipality.

“There’s no political arm on the host society,” noted Webb.

Brake explained the applications were reviewed on Friday after the deadline.

“We wanted to get it done as soon as possible,” he said.

“There were three members of council and a technical advisor from the Arctic Winter Games International Committee and they helped select the host society members.”

The host society will be made up of representatives of Hay River and Fort Smith.

Brake said his understanding is that the host society committee will consist of six people from Hay River and six from Fort Smith.

Greg Rowe of Hay River was appointed president of the host society by Hay River town council on March 30.

Brake said he hopes the vice-president of the host society will be chosen from the volunteers from Fort Smith, noting, “In the spirit of the 50/50 partnership, it would be good to have a president

from Hay River and a vice-president from Fort Smith,” he said.