Renfrew -- Renfrew Reeve Peter Emon will chair the Ontario Winter Games 2022 committee for the County of Renfrew.
The announcement of the Games being hosted by Renfrew County was made Tuesday afternoon, Dec. 15 by provincial ministers Lisa McLeod and John Yakabuski. The event is expected to be held Feb. 28, March 1, 2 and 3, 2022.
“I’ve been fortunate to be asked by Warden Robinson to chair the committee,” said Reeve Emon at the Town of Renfrew council meeting held via Zoom Tuesday evening, Dec. 15.
“That means I’ll just bang the gavel and run the agenda,” he added with a laugh.
There is $1 million coming to the county courtesy of the provincial government, he said.
Reeve Emon said about 700 volunteers will be required and there should be about 3,500 participants between the ages of 12 and 18 competing in about 27 sports. A crowd of between 5,000 and 9,000 is also expected, he said.
He noted he has the support of Greater Madawaska Mayor Brian Hunt, Petawawa Mayor Bob Sweet, Warden Robinson as well as county staff and various organizations.
“I’ve had calls already,” he said. “Mayor (Jennifer) Murphy of Bonnechere Valley volunteered, our librarian volunteered, and most of the mayors and reeves across the county say they want to be a part of this.”
Renfrew council members were quick to volunteer as well, with Councillor Arlene Jamieson sending an email earlier and Mayor Don Eady and Councillor Sandi Heins volunteering at the meeting.
“I can’t wait for a job from Reeve Emon,” Coun. Heins said. “Congratulations. The warden has certainly chosen somebody very spirited about Renfrew County and is a doer and gets the job done.
“I think she has chosen the right person to lead the troops,” she said.
Mayor Eady also congratulated Reeve Emon on his appointment to this committee.
“…the County of Renfrew community has a way of coming together,” he said. “Seven hundred volunteers is somewhat of a challenge, but not as big a challenge as you think.
“I’m willing to chip in,” he said.
He asked Reeve Emon to pass on thanks to the ministers and Warden Robinson for the work put into getting the Winter Games to the county.
“There was a lot of work done behind the scenes before this was announced,” he said. “This is a good thing for the whole County of Renfrew, the business community in the town of Renfrew and I’m looking to asking them to start getting prepared, the BIA, the chamber of commerce, of what’s going to happen to the lead up to this, to showcase Renfrew in a really good way.”
Reeve Emon said work will begin in earnest beginning in January 2021, as the committee needs to be formed, followed by contacting businesses, municipal offices and recreation departments. He noted that in 2018, 1,250 hotel rooms were booked full time during the four-day cycle.
“We are going to go out and exercise all of the good will that the County of Renfrew has and continue our partnerships with the City of Pembroke and all the municipalities within the county an, of course, the First Nations communities, Algonquins of Pikwaknagan, Algonquins of Ontario and the Algonquins of Bonnechere,” he said.
“I’m very pleased with this,” Reeve Emon said. “We think it’s a really good way to kick-off and kick-out COVID. We are going to come storming out of the chute in 2022.”
Connie Tabbert, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Eganville Leader