The man-made lake at Hawrelak Park will have to evaluated before Edmonton can make a last-minute bid on hosting the International Triathlon Union Grand Final in 2014.
The event was supposed to take place in San Diego but that city pulled out. Last month, the International Triathlon Union (ITU) asked Edmonton to host because the local organizing committee has experience running World Cup events.
"They have trust that we know what we're doing," said Sheila O'Kelly from the Edmonton Triathlon Academy. "Because it is such a huge event, if they go to a local organizing committee that doesn't have the experience, it can become a disaster."
However, the lake in Hawrelak Park needs work.
According to a city report, the lake has a build-up of sediment, the 40-year-old clay liner is leaking, the water doesn't meet standards set by Alberta Health Services and the depth is too shallow for an ITU event.
Recreation facilities manager Rob Smyth doesn't know the price of fixing these issues. It will cost $100,000 for administration to find out what is needed to get the lake to ITU standards.
"Are we up for this? There's all kinds of dimensions — all the costs, the capital and operating," Smyth said. "But then on the benefit side, it's phenomenally fantastic for our city if we go down this path."
While Mayor Stephen Mandel isn't completely sold on the idea, he likes the idea of cleaning up the lake.
"I like cleaning up the lakefront for kids in this city to go swimming," he said.
The city report says that it would cost about $5 million to host a Grand Final — $2 million from the city, with the remainder coming from corporate sponsors and the federal and provincial governments.
A bid would have to be submitted by Nov. 27th, although the city will likely seek an extension.
The event is estimated to attract about 6,000 athletes. In comparison, the annual Edmonton triathlon has about 750 competitors.