SURREY - Surrey was the place to be last weekend as more than 2,500 athletes plus another 800 coaches and officials invaded the city for the 2012 B.C. Summer Games.
The visiting athletes were greeted by a well co-ordinated group of volunteers who dedicated almost all of their waking hours for four days to make the event a smashing success.
"It was absolutely superb. With all the athletes here and their parents and coaches and everybody else, it was pretty phenomenal," said Surrey Mayor Dianne Watts.
The scope of the event required every volunteer available. Surrey's summer games were spread across 15 venues scattered around the city, plus satellite venues in Abbotsford (water skiing), Pitt Meadows (canoe and kayak) and Delta (rowing).
Organizers were faced with the daunting task of feeding, transporting and housing the athletes, in addition to staging the assorted sporting events.
"If it wasn't for the support of so many groups in the community and all of our volunteers, it would never have occurred the way it did," said Bill McNamara, president of the 2012 B.C. Summer Games organizing committee.
"I really appreciate the work of all of the people who came together to help make it happen."
McNamara added while most things ran smoothly, the volunteers were quick to adapt on the fly to fix problems as they arose.
"In events like this, there are always little glitches that pop us," he said. "The weather played a role with some events being delayed and that ended up affecting other things like transportation schedules and meals. When that happened, the volunteers stayed later to make sure all of the athletes got there safely and got their meals. We cleaned up the situations as they occurred and we moved forward."
The four-day B.C. Summer Games event was expected to pump as much as $3 million into the local economy.