Hundreds of competitors age 55 and over from Tobermory to Windsor will converge here for the Ontario Senior Games Association (OSGA) Southwest Regional Summer Games in 2017.
Sports such as golf, two-pitch, five and ten-pin bowling, lawn bowling, bocce ball, billiards and darts, as well as popular card games like euchre and cribbage have been staples of the Games.
But the planning group has the flexibility to add other sports gaining popularity such as pickleball and tennis after consultation with other districts in the region, said Terry McCallum, co-ordinator of the local district of the OSGA.
“I look forward to working with representatives from the city and numerous other organizations to develop a plan to successfully host the games,” said McCallum in a recent letter to City Council.
A public meeting is planned for Monday, Nov. 23 at 1 p.m. in the Lower Hall of Clearwater Arena.
“I’m hoping that other people that have an interest in the games will attend that meeting,” said McCallum.
“It’s sort of a meet-and-greet meeting to explain to people what we are doing, and then make decisions where we want to go and move forward from there.”
He would also like to have representation from Lambton County, so some events can be held at venues outside Sarnia.
The retired parks and recreation director for the city also wants to work closely with the business community to provide incentives so participants feel at home when they arrive.
“When you have 600 people coming that are going to buy food and gas and shop, it will generate significant dollars,” he said.
“I’d like to get the merchants involved with promotions that entice participants to shop here.”
McCallum says the planning process is beginning now, nearly two years in advance of the games, because he is required to attend the Ontario Senior Games Association AGM next April and confirm the region is up to the task of hosting the competition.
“I have every confidence from the enthusiasm of the Y and the city and Tourism Sarnia Lambton and other individuals that we shouldn’t have any difficulty at all,” he said.
The bi-annual Regional Summer Games were held in London this year with area competitors bringing home four medals.
Pauline Rainey won gold in women’s golf, John and Judy Wilson and Elise McGill and Helen Butler won gold and silver respectively in euchre and Jack and Joyce Lambly claimed the bronze in carpet bowling.