Sport in Lethbridge in 20 years
Shaun Ward and Gary Bowie are known for their commitment to various community service projects.
Between them, they have nearly a century of community service to their credit – Ward as a Lethbridge College faculty member and long-serving city councillor; and Bowie with more than 50 years in Lethbridge as community advocate for sports, social services and an academic career at the University of Lethbridge.
In all of their many interests, one is constant: Sport and sport development in the community at a lifelong recreational level, and also at an elite athlete level.
The Lethbridge Sport Council asked Bowie and Ward to imagine Lethbridge in 2034 – 20 years from now, and forecast what the community looks like from a sport perspective.
Talking to them about the future of sport in the community sets a writer up for a long interview that’s part conversation between old friends, part ‘verbal tennis match’ as ideas are lobbed back and forth, and with a firm eye on the future.
How will the Lethbridge Sport Council evolve over the next 20 years?
The Lethbridge Sport Council (LSC) becomes a stronger entity in relation to the community:
- It is a strong advocate for long term athletic development in line with federal and provincial trends — a system that will provide a chance for children to take part in sports and do so for years and years
- It helps strengthen a culture of sport and recreation as being of equal value
- The LSC is the hub of a coordinated effort where people work together with different sports agencies and other groups -- educators, health and business – to support entry-level and life-long appreciation for sport.
What Sport Trends do you see in 20 years?
- The aspect of planning must include not just the performance sport organizations and facilities, but those that encourage unstructured play, recreation sports and non-traditional sports as integral parts of children's development.
What types of Infrastructure / Facilities will we have in our city?
- Because the city has expanded significantly, there are now walking and cycling trails that link every quadrant of our city assisted by the construction of a footbridge across the river.
- Facility programming is based on the sport for life concept — bookings for unstructured and structured activity, multi-sport programs for youth and adults, inclusive programming for all ages, genders and ability, recreation and high performance sport programming
- The relationship between the sports community and the arts and culture community has blossomed and the crossover aspects of sport tourism, art and culture are ingrained in the community.
- A special fund supported by the Lethbridge Sport Council exists through the Community Foundation of Lethbridge and Southwestern Alberta to assist elite athletes training for international events such as the Olympics / Paralympics, Commonwealth Games, PanAm / Para PanAm Games, etc.
NOTE: See the attached PDF Document below for full interview