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Loggers to bring sports back

Willingdon Beach will require improvements before popular event returns
Chris Bolster

Organizers of Powell River’s logger sports are working on sprucing up Willingdon Beach in preparation for this summer’s return of the once-famous games.

Powell River residents who grew up with logger sports rallied this summer to bring the event back after more than a decade in hiatus.

The terraced area of Willingdon Beach Park, originally created to host the games, was paid for by local loggers. But now, more than 15 years later, the terrace logs are rotting and the area needs a fix-up if the show is to go on.

“I have a vision for bowl seating there,” said event organizer Bob Marquis. “We don’t mind helping out with the park and building a legacy.”

Marquis said the organizers understand that the event is only one weekend per year but upgrades to park infrastructure, undertaken with $50,000 of Powell River Community Forest funds and community volunteers, will be something all users of the park will appreciate.

“We’re going to put some nice seating in there that’s going to last forever,” he said.

Ray Boogaards, City of Powell River director of parks, recreation and culture, brought the matter to the attention of city council during its most recent finance committee meeting.

Boogaards told council in order to ready the grounds in time for the show, the project would need council approval for the community forest funds, or a grant-in-aid until the forest funds could be made available. That decision is expected at an upcoming council meeting.

The logging sports show, planned for July 16 and 17, will bring all the traditional logger sports events of tree climbing, log rolling, chopping and chainsaw events back to Willingdon Beach.

Marquis said the show being planned will bring professional logger sports competitors to Powell River to vie in eight Canadian championship events in three divisions.

“We’re looking forward to getting a lot of local guys back into it, too,” said Marquis.

At the height of its popularity, TSN broadcasted the event across Canada and Marquis said more than 10,000 people attended.

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