A FUTURE bid for the South Australian Masters Games cleared a major hurdle on Tuesday night when it was backed by Mount Gambier City Council.
Councillors pledged their full support towards a bid to secure the games, with an aim for the 2023 event to capitalise on the opening of the $39.1m Community and Recreation Hub.
It follows years of frustration for Mount Gambier sporting figure Jodie Cook who undertook a mountain of work to try and secure the 2018 event.
All the wheels were in motion to submit an expression of interest in 2015, however it failed to gain the critical financial support from the former council.
Four years on and Ms Cook said she was “absolutely thrilled” when she received the news on Wednesday morning that any future bid would have council’s full support.
“I sat up all night waiting for a phone call to say they were going to back it and it’s just a huge relief to find out they are on board,” Ms Cook said.
“The new council has been very supportive, I have spoken to a few of them who know how good this will be for the city.”
With the facilities Mount Gambier has to offer, Ms Cook said she was confident a bid for the 2023 games would be successful.
“We have so many great facilities down here, so there is absolutely no reason we cannot have it,” she said.
“We’re a big city, we have the accommodation, the eateries, the grounds, so I’m very confident.”
While the games typically ran for a week, Ms Cook said there may be an opportunity to have a bigger and better event in the Blue Lake City.
“With the number of sports we have got on board – around 30 to 40 – we can actually go to Sports SA and request to spread it out over two weeks,” she said.
“All the sports benefit from stretching it out over a longer period of time.”
Council chief executive Andrew Meddle said he was involved with the Rural City of Murray Bridge when they hosted the games last year.
“It cost the council around $100,000 and we recorded around a $1m return on investment,” he said.
While expressions of interest are yet to open for the 2023 games, Ms Cook is ready to act as soon as the opportunity presents itself.
“I have dusted the cobwebs off all the folders I stashed away four years ago and I am ready to go,” she said.
“I’ll get in contact with all the current sporting committees to confirm their support, which will be really easy.
“Getting council on board was always the biggest challenge for me, so I’m just absolutely stoked we are now all on the same page.”