While my last column looked at our vibrant local arts scene, we can’t forget that Williams Lake is a hotbed of sporting activity as well! We can look no further than the B.C. Summer Games roster for proof.
Thousands of B.C.’s best young athletes along with coaches and officials converged on the City of Abbotsford for three days of intense competition in 18 different sports. The contingent included 27 athletes from Williams Lake competing in softball, lacrosse, rugby, soccer, swimming and sailing events. I know our entire community joined me in wishing these hard-working competitors well in their respective sports!
Williams Lake can also boast success at the international level, with our own Kayla Moleschi named to Canada’s first-ever Olympic Rugby 7s squad. Women’s Rugby 7s makes its debut at the Rio Olympic Games in August, and we wish Kayla and her Canada teammates the best of luck. BC Rugby recently noted Kayla is the first Rugby Olympian from our province — what a thrill for her, and for our entire community. She has made us so proud.
Here in B.C., we can also be proud of our great ability to host world-class sporting events. The province provided $245,000 to help stage the recent HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series in Vancouver. These types of investments bring huge dividends, because events like these boost our economy by attracting more visitors. Fans at this event helped support the more than 19,000 businesses and 127,000 people working in the tourism sector. Meantime the FIFA Women’s World Cup Canada 2015, supported with $2 million from the Province, was another success story — providing an impressive $118.8 million in total economic activity for British Columbia.
At the same time, sport increases community spirit and celebrates values like sportsmanship and volunteerism. From our littlest local athletes learning a sport for the first time, to our elite hometown heroes heading off to international competitions — we salute them all!
Coralee Oakes is the MLA for Cariboo North and Minister of Small Business and Red Tape Reduction.