Legacy trust set up for Island athletes

An athletes fund will be set up on Prince Edward Island, officials with the Canada Games announced Friday.

Uses surplus from Canada Games

An athletes fund will be set up on Prince Edward Island, officials with the Canada Games 2009 committee announced Friday.

The Canada Games Dreams and Champions Legacy Trust will use the $3.3 million surplus from the games held on the Island last August.

"You have to leave something for sport going forward," said Canada Games president Joseph Spriet.

"We worked hard making sure that in fact we wouldn't have a deficit, No. 1, and that we would wind up with a legacy."

For now, the $3.3 million won't be touched. Rather, the plan is to use the interest generated  — about $150,000 to $200,000 each year.

Coaches, elite athletes and operators of Canada Games facilities can apply for funding.

"It takes a lot of financial commitment to participate at a national and international level, and to know there are some funds that will be available to them to help them on their way, it's just really exciting," said Gemma Koughan, executive director of Sports PEI.

Wayne Carew of the group Friends of the Games, said the funding will allow the Island to develop high-performance athletes.

"It will really allow some future Heather Moyce, Kara Grant, to step onto the podium because there's resources available to allow them and help them do their training," he said.

Games Officials also said the event generated $81.5 million in economic activity, created 778 temporary jobs and that $19 million was spent on new facilities.

Spriet said there were some scary moments, too. For example, in the beginning organizers struggled with an old funding formula that didn't provide enough money from governments to put on the Games.  

"We had to go and try to find sources to make up that shortfall that existed," he said.

Sporting groups are happy the shortfall turned into a surplus and say the funds are greatly needed. 

The extra money will be officially turned over to the trust in August. Applications for funding will also be accepted at that time.