CLWYD SOUTH AM KEN SKATES has raised the prospect of North East Wales playing a central role in a future bid for the Commonwealth Games.
The AM said the possibility of a Liverpool bid for the games could have huge economic benefits for areas like Wrexham, Flintshire and Denbighshire.
Off the back of the successful London 2012 Olympic Games the AM said a possible Liverpool/North East Wales bid could help offset costs and play a vital role in promoting the region to the world.
CLWYD SOUTH AM KEN SKATES said:
“Off the back of the Olympic success we must examine closely what role North East Wales could play in conjunction with a city like Liverpool on a possible joint bid for the Commonwealth Games.
“The economic, cultural, transport and sporting links between North East Wales and the North West of England make for a potentially unbeatable bid. Imagine a bid that ties the Land of our Fathers to the city of the Beatles, the bid could be very strong.
“It would offer an intoxicating cocktail of history, culture and elite sporting venues.”
Mr Skates believes Wrexham in particular would benefit from a Commonwealth Games role as it would raise the town’s profile on a global stage.
He added: “North Wales could play a significant role in hosting the triathlon along the Pontcysyllte World Heritage Site, Dee Valley and Bala, rowing on the River Dee, Mountain biking at Llandegla, road cycling on the Etape Cymru circuit, sailing at Shotwick and the marathon could follow a route through Wales, Cheshire and Merseyside.
“Clearly there would also be a need for new elite sporting venues, which could bring a lasting legacy to North East Wales and deliver sporting success for generations to come.”
Mr Skates said a key attraction of such a joint bid would be the potential to reduce costs and therefore avoid placing a financial burden on the tax payer.
He said: “By staging the Games in North East Wales and the North West of England we could draw on funds from sporting bodies in both countries and share costs on both sides of the border, while each benefiting equally.
“We would be able to exploit the enormous potential of our porous border and advertise to the world some of the greatest landscapes and buildings on the planet.
“A Mersey-Dee bid could set a new standard for the Commonwealth Games and create a platform upon which the wider regional economy would prosper.
He added: “It is entirely possible Liverpool and Everton’s football grounds will be replaced in the next twenty years, so early plans could utilise their new venues for the Games, perhaps for athletics.”
Among the other venues suggested by Mr Skates are Wrexham Racecourse for rugby sevens, shooting at the North Wales Shooting School in Sealand, track cycling at Manchester velodrome, and table tennis at Llangollen Pavilion.
The 2014 Games will be held in Glasgow, with the 2018 events taking place on Australia’s Gold Coast. The hosts for the 2022 and 2026 Games will be decided in the coming years.
Mr Skates said: “This is our big chance to put elite sport in North East Wales on the global map as well as promote grassroots participation in our communities. We need to give it very serious consideration.”