Bedbugs have forced 85 athletes and coaches competing at the Canada Winter Games to be moved from the Tim Hortons Children’s Camp at Tatamagouche, Nova Scotia, 90 minutes northeast of Halifax. The camp was being used to house athletes for the Halifax-centred Canada Games, which run until Feb. 27.
The camp was being used as lodging for freestyle skiers and coaches competing this week at Ski Wentworth. Athletes from eight provinces and territories were staying in other “pods” at the camp and were not affected by the outbreak in the unused dorm.
Canada Winter Games CEO Chris Morrissey said the bedbugs were found in an unused dorm at the camp. “No evidence of bedbugs were found where the athletes were staying,” Morrissey said at a news conference in Halifax. The athletes involved in the relocation were competing at a nearby ski hill. They were relocated to a military base in Halifax as a precaution and will stay there for the duration of the Games. No evidence of bedbugs was found in any area where the athletes were staying, a release from Games officials emphasized.
The organization running the camp where bedbugs forced 85 Canada Games athletes out of their accommodations says it’s dealing with the same problem faced by camps and hotels around the world. “We are in the same situation now that the entire hospitality industry is facing,” said Dave Newnham, executive director of the Tim Hortons Children’s Foundation.
The bedbugs were discovered in the weeks leading up to the Games, but organizers thought that a steam cleaning followed and opening the dorms to the freezing cold would eradicate them. Morrissey reported that the dorms are being inspected twice a day for any sign of a return.
Bed bugs have done nothing to dampen the competitive spirits of the young freestyle skiers competing at the Canada Winter Games at Ski Wentworth. “It’s had no impact whatsoever,” said Team Alberta manager Patrick Breault.
While Robert Strang, Nova Scotia’s chief public health officer, reminds those concerned that, “the risk of athletes being exposed to bedbugs is no greater than the risk to anyone traveling”, the reports are an uncomfortable reminder that bedbugs, which not too many years ago were rarely a major concern, are now becoming a problem.