At an in-camera meeting Monday morning, Sept. 17, Kelowna city council gave approval for staff to submit a proposal to host Ironman Canada. Kelowna’s bid will be submitted to the World Triathlon Corporation on Sept. 24.
“Kelowna and the Okanagan Valley is well positioned to host this event,” said Kelowna Mayor Walter Gray. “We have a long and rich history as the hub of triathlon in Canada. The Apple Triathlon, the premier Olympic distance triathlon in Canada, combined with Ironman Canada will strongly establish Kelowna as the centre for multi-sport excellence.
“We have a world-class outdoor venue,” Gray said, “a committed community and easy access with Kelowna International Airport. Ironman Canada is synonymous with the Okanagan Valley and we want to see that continue.”
Kelowna council believes hosting Ironman Canada would create long lasting legacies for the community and its citizens by building on its existing active living infrastructure and culture and creating a multi-sport centre of excellence.
In addition, a volunteer recruitment and retention strategy will be developed benefiting events in Kelowna.
Kelowna is an active community that hosts more than 100 events annually. The city’s objective is to link the Apple Triathlon and Ironman Canada and other events to create a celebration of sport and culture that strengthens Kelowna’s position as a leader in active living.
The World Triathlon Corporation has an established track record for hosting successful Ironman competitions around the world which have significant economic impacts in the areas where they are hosted.
A statistically valid survey conducted in Kelowna earlier in September indicated strong community support for hosting the event. More than 95 per cent of respondents had heard of Ironman Canada and, of those, 72 per cent said they favour the City of Kelowna bidding on the opportunity to host Ironman Canada.
The World Triathlon Corporation is expected to announce its decision on the successful proponent on Oct. 10. It’s a competitive process and the City of Kelowna would not discuss specific details of its bid until after a decision is made by the WTC.