Langford Mayor Stew Young supports a bid to bring the Invictus Games to Victoria but baulks at the price tag.
Young said he would like to see Langford support the proposal but with a sum between $5,000 and $10,000, not $20,000 — the figure which the public heard when Keith Wells, executive director of the Greater Victoria Sport Tourism Commission appeared in front of Oak Bay council last month.
Wells said the bid committee would ask Victoria, Saanich, and Langford for $20,000 each towards the bid estimated to cost $70,000. Oak Bay committed to support the bid with $5,000 — the same request now facing Esquimalt.
“Twenty-thousand dollars is a bit much,” said Young. It would mean that Langford with a population of 35,342 (2016 Census) would be paying as much as the largest municipality in the region, Saanich, with a population of 114,148 (2016 Census). Saanich will consider the request Monday, when it will debate a notice of motion from Mayor Fred Haynes and Coun. Judy Brownoff to spend up to $20,000 towards the bid.
“Ten-thousand dollars is a reasonable ask,” Young said.
Young said he would also like to see the bid committee approach all municipalities in the region for funding. This approach would give the bid a “way better chance” of success, because it would show regional support, he said.
If Young expressed resistance to the request from the bid committee, he also tried to sweetened it with an offer that would see the organizers use Langford’s sporting facilities on an in-kind basis (assuming the games come to the region).
Young pegged the value of that offer between $60,000 and $70,000.
He noted Langford will examine the request through the city’s economic development committee.
The deadline for the bid itself is March 29.
In the Invictus Games, created by Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, wounded, injured or sick armed services personnel and veterans associations compete across multiple sports. The name of the competition stems from a poem titled Invictus (Latin for unconquered) by English poet by William Ernest Henley in which the author (himself an amputee) celebrates physical and mental perseverance in the face of daunting odds.
Peter Lawless, president of the Invictus Victoria Sports Society, said in a letter to Saanich council that the region would be “uniquely positioned” to host the games because of its status as home of Royal Canadian Navy’s Pacific Fleet, and the former site of the XV Commonwealth Games.
“I know the public will support it,” added Young.