FINA diving, Ontario Summer Games bids approved by council
Windsor city council has agreed to submit a bid to host the FINA Diving World Series and the Ontario Summer Games.
The diving event would happen at the new, $77-million aquatic centre for four consecutive years, starting next year.
"The dive tank and dive tower were intended for diving championships. It was not intended for seniors. It was not intended for children," Francis said. "It’s not a toy feature."
The FINA diving series has never stopped in Canada or the United States. the closest it's been is Mexico.
Coun.Fulvio Valentinis said Windsor should seize the opportunity.
"We in the city of Windsor do several things well, but we do very few things really, really well. This is one of those areas where we now have an asset that sets us apart, and distinguishes us from other communities," he said. "It's important that we enhance and we use that as a marketing tool."
Coun. Bill Marra was the only one to vote against the diving series.
"I think we need to start talking to our residents to ensure that these are the kind of priorities they want to see their municipal resources invested in," Marra said. "I was part of the strategic planning process when this term of council began, and I certainly don't recall pouring millions of dollars of resources and staffing time into sporting.
"It wasn't identified as a priority for this term of council."
The total cost of hosting the diving events is more than a million dollars.
Ontario Summer Games also on radar
Council also agreed to bid for the 2014 Ontario Summer Games.
That event is expected to attract up to 3,500 athletes, coaches, managers and officials.
The operating budget had been estimated at $2.4 million with grants to offset that total.
Francis said some refining needs to be done after an official with the Ontario Sports Alliance allegedly said the $2.4-million figure was too high.
Francis said it could be $1.5 million or less.
Francis said the city is "marketing itself to the world."
"If you want to live in a progressive city, part of being a progressive city is being on the map," Francis said.
He ensured residents the city can afford the bids.
"This does not impact your taxes. We’re going to hold the line on taxes," he said.Coun. Drew Dilkens is a supporter of hosting the summer games.
"We're now spending 70 per cent of our marketing dollars on trying to attract tourists from elsewhere in Ontario and only 30 per cent on the U.S. market," Dilkens said. "This fits in perfectly because this is the Ontario Summer Games."
Coun. Jo Ann Gignac suggested the city needs a sports council.
"I think we're going to have a continual stream of opportunities present themselves, and I'd like to see us adopt a more formal approach in terms of ensuring that whatever investment we make, we get the most positive return that we can," she said.