Six countries from across the Caribbean and Africa attending the 2018 Commonwealth Games are interested in visiting the Redlands in the lead-up to the Gold Coast event.
And more nations are expected to accept the city’s offer of a convenient rest, relaxation and potential training zone as part of their visit to Queensland.
The early overture was the brainchild of Redlands’ Division 5 Councillor Mark Edwards, who wrote a personal invitation to the organising committees of other Commonwealth states, offering hospitality and support to athletes, coaches and officials.
“The idea is to help lessen the financial burden involved in bringing overseas teams to the games, to provide appropriate training facilities and accommodation and strengthen the bonds between countries,” he said.
“It started as a notion to showcase the southern Moreton Bay Islands and put the area on the global radar, but has now grown into a potential for the whole of the Redlands, given our great facilities, natural environment and close proximity to the Gold Coast.”
Cr Edwards was delighted that several countries had already responded positively to his hospitality scheme.
“They are very interested in free billeted accommodation and sports ground access, as well as transport, community support and cultural events – not to mention the chance to relax in a beautiful natural paradise,” he said.
“Not only are they keen to use our facilities, but they want to be involved in the community and get together with local sports people.
“Other countries have also shown interest and will follow up what we can do for them after the 2014 Glasgow Games.”
Redland City Mayor Karen Williams said the initiative had the full support of Council, and had the potential to involve adjoining Councils.
“This is such an exciting opportunity for a real community focus and a chance to share some synergies with our neighboring councils with specialist sporting facilities,” she said.
“Better still, the relationships can start long before 2018, with Redlands acting as a host city for delegations from these countries visiting between now and the games.
“The hope is that this could be the beginning of long lasting relationships that will enable us to showcase the beautiful Redlands leading up to and beyond 2018.”