Volunteers (from front) Roberta Roach and Doug Stoddart along with Ron Erickson, 55+ BC Games transportation chair, beside one of the vans, donated by Kelowna Chrysler Dodge Jeep, to be used to transport 4,000 athletes from across B.C. around Kelowna during the competition this week. (Ashley Wadhwani - Black Press Media )

Let the games begin: 55+ BC Games underway in Kelowna

Stage is set for the 2019 55+ BC Games to take over the streets, waters and fields of Kelowna

More than 4,000 athletes and their supporters from across B.C. have arrived in Kelowna to compete in this year’s 55+ BC Games.

“We’re excited that everything is coming together for an excellent games experience,” said David Graham, president of the Kelowna 55+ BC Games Society.

“We hope that Kelowna residents will come out and show their support to the local and visiting participants, there really is something for everyone to enjoy.”

The 55+ BC Games, formerly the BC Seniors Games, is an annual, multi-sport event hosted by a different B.C. community each year.

The event is backed by 1,300 community volunteers from the region.

“This event could not take place without the tremendous time and energy put in by our local volunteers and we are grateful for this opportunity to showcase Kelowna’s commitment to healthy living and community sport,” Mayor Colin Basran said in a news release Monday.

READ MORE: 55+ BC Games ready to take over Kelowna

Ron Erickson, this year’s transportation chair, is one of those tireless volunteers – leading the team dedicated to transporting the thousands of athletes to their respective competitions, as well as the activities off the fields, courts and arenas.

That includes the opening ceremonies, which is on Wednesday night, and the Friday night street dance.

“It’s become a kind of community where a lot of people will actually do these games for many years in a row,” Erickson said.

“It’s actually a chance for them to meet people they met in Cranbrook last year, they met in Vernon two years ago.”

The closing ceremony takes place on Saturday afternoon at 1:30 p.m.

A number of closures in place as city hosts competitions

With more than 30 activities being held, the Kelowna 55+ BC Games take place at various recreation facilities, some of which will be impacted as the games are held from Wednesday until Friday, Sept. 13.

Public drop-in access to the facilities will be limited, only available outside games hours, and the Apple Bowl will be closed for the duration of the games.

Knox Mountain Drive will be closed to vehicles and foot traffic on Friday morning, Sept. 13, until 11:30 a.m., to accommodate the Cycling Hill Climb event.

On Sept. 13, Cawston Avenue, from Water Street to Cannery Lane, will be closed from 3 to 11 p.m. to accommodate a street party. The Arts Common at Rotary Centre for the Arts will also be closed to the public.

Residents can reduce traffic and parking congestion by choosing various modes of active transportation, such as biking, walking and carpooling.

Visit smarttTRIPS.ca to learn more about how the city supports and promotes active transportation through events, programs and education.

For more details, visit 55plusbcgames.org.

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