The capital of the Yukon will have another major sporting event to plan for.

The Star has learned that the Board of Directors of the Canadian Senior Games Association has approved a local bid to host the 2004 Canada Senior Games.
The awarding of the national senior games to Whitehorse comes less than four months after the Canada Games Council announced this city would be the site of the 2007 Canada Winter Games.

“The bid presented by the host society, the ElderActive Recreation Association, painted a very enticing picture of Whitehorse and the Yukon as the ideal host for the 2004 Canada Senior Games,” read a press release from the Canadian Senior Games Association today. “We are very excited about holding these games in the North.”

The press release also noted that local resident Joyce Young, the executive director of the ElderActive Recreation Association, has been elected as president of the Canadian Senior Games Association.

Her presidency will become effective tomorrow. Young is among a contingent of 36 Yukon seniors attending the 2002 Canada Senior Games in Summerside, P.E.I. this week. Team Yukon is participating in bowling, horseshoe, golf, tennis, eightball, track and field, swimming, bridge and cribbage events.

It is expected that these will be some of the events that will be taking place here in ’04.  As she was taking part in games’ activities today, Young was unable to return a message from the Star left for her at the games’ office in Summerside. Young had been the vice-president of the Canadian Senior Games Association for the past two years.

“The Yukon has been an active member of the Canadian Senior Games Association since joining in 1998,” the press release concluded.

“It seems appropriate that they should host the Canada Senior Games in 2004.” After being approached by Young at a meeting on July 22, city council agreed to draft a letter of support in favour of hosting the 2004 Canada Senior Games. A letter of support for the bid was also drawn up by the territorial government.

In an interview the next day, Young estimated the event would bring anywhere from 600 to 1,000 people from across the country into the territory.
The 2004 Canada Senior Games are scheduled to take place from Sept. 11-14. In a proposed budget, the ElderActive Association has estimated the entire event to cost $507,175.

The group is proposing that the city spend $32,000 on the event, while the Yukon government spend $190,000.
Of that, $75,000 would come from the Department of Health and Social Services; $25,000 from the Department of Business, Tourism and Culture; and
$90,000 from the Department of Sports and Recreation.

Other potential sources of revenue include donations, sponsorships, registration fees, souvenirs, admissions into the opening and closing ceremonies for non-participants and video sales of the games.

The Yukon government contributed $20,000 toward Team Yukon’s participation at the Canada Senior Games in Summerside.

“We’re very pleased with the announcement. We supported the bid from the beginning,” Pam Buckway, minister responsible for Sport and Recreation, said in a brief telephone discussion today.

“I would like to congratulate Joyce Young and her association for putting in the winning bid for the 2004 Canada Senior Games.”
When asked if the territorial government’s contribution to the Yukon’s participation in this year’s games could be perceived as a precursor to further funding to host the ’04 games, Buckway replied that it was a little too early to speculate what, if any, involvement (YTG) would have in that regard.

“The standard procedure is that the parties responsible for requesting funding would have to come forward with a formal proposal,” she noted.
“Hosting the 2004 Canada Senior Games falls easily into the government’s active living mandate, which Yukon seniors have become a vital part of.”

As Whitehorse and the Yukon prepare to host the first Canada Games ever held North of 60, holding another national event such as the Canada Senior Games could go a long way in building toward 2007, Buckway intimated.

“It will be a big help,” the minister said. “Both the Canada Senior Games and the Canada Winter Games will require the support of many volunteers.
“The Canada Senior Games will be a warmup for what we will need to accomplish in 2007 and I imagine the enthusiasm from hosting in ’04 will carry over to ’07.”

Beginning in 1996 when the event was shared by Alberta and Saskatchewan, the Canada Senior Games are generally held every two years. In 1998, the Yukon returned from the Canada Senior Games in Medicine Hat, Alta. with 27 medals and the Spirit of the Games Award. Yukoners 55 years of age and over who wish to qualify for a spot on Team Yukon for the 2004 Canada Senior Games must compete in the 2003 Yukon Games.