Flint won't host CANUSA Games this summer because of water crisis
Flint's water crisis is now affecting kids on the athletic fields.
The 2016 CANUSA Games will be held this summer in Hamilton, Ontario, instead of Flint as originally planned.
The games are a 58-year-old annual amateur sporting competition between the two communities, with the location alternating each year.
The switch away from Flint this year was instigated by Hamilton CANUSA, and jointly announced by the CANUSA Games Organizing Committees from Hamilton and Flint.
Organizers from both cities said Canadian participants were worried about the safety of Flint's water.
"We're always concerned about safety first of the kids and any adults involved," said Terry Anderson, a board member of Hamilton CANUSA. "But also the perception is there. And if that perception is negative and we had a poor turnout, even if the safety wasn't an issue and there was going to be a poor turnout, it wouldn't be a successful game. So we just felt that it was better to err on the side of safety and make the change for this coming year."
According to Elbert Hicks who is on the executive committee of Flint CANUSA, Flint parents and organizers were understanding of Hamilton CANUSA's concerns.
"We kind of put ourselves in their place," said Hicks. "If it was us going to Hamilton and they had our water situation, would we want to take our kids there? And we basically felt the same way."
Both sides hope that Flint's water problems will be resolved so the Games will be held in Flint in 2017 for their 60th anniversary.
Hicks said changing the location to Hamilton this summer will be a financial hardship for Flint CANUSA.
"When we travel to Hamilton, it's an additional cost of transportation for the buses and then we have to house all of our coaches," said Hicks. "So that's definitely a big added expense for us to go back over there again."
Officials expect this summer's Games to draw over 1,200 athletes in 15 sports, with most athletes ranging in age from 10-17.