Ahead of the much-anticipated arena talks, City Council agreed to move forward with submitting a bid to host an international triathlon event next year.

The vote took place Wednesday morning; the decision came more than a month after councillors voted to $600,000 towards a bid to host the 2014 International Triathlon Union Grand Final.

It’s expected the event would be held at Hawrelak Park – the pond at the park would require extensive upgrades to bring it up to international standards.

According to council documents from Wednesday’s meeting, an early estimate of the cost of fixing the pond is about $1.23 million.

The report outlined a number of needed repairs to the pond, including a suspected tear in the clay liner of the lake – which is not only an issue for triathlon events, but for making a proper skating surface in the winter.

In addition, officials said the lake drain system is not functioning properly, which increases the risk of flooding in the Park Pavilion, and with higher water levels that are needed for such sporting events, water has been draining into the pavilion and flooding the subfloor sump and HVAC duct system.

Work needed on the pond – to meet International Triathlon requirements for competition, it’s recommended that workers drain the lake, remove the sludge and repair the liner.

It was also proposed that the clay liner be removed and excavated in order to carve out a defined swimming track – that would be 20 metres wide, 750 metres long and a minimum depth of 1.4 metres.

The report stated that second option would make Hawrelak easily available to future triathlon events.

Work at Hawrelak Park is expected to begin late this summer, to be finished by late autumn.

If Edmonton wins the bid, the event could cost the city up to $5 million, out of a total expected cost of $8 million.

Councillors told CTV News in Dec., 2012 that the province would be asked to put forward $2 million, and the federal government would be asked to contribute $1 million.

The deadline to notify the ITU of Edmonton’s intention to bid is Jan. 25.

Edmonton’s bid is reportedly up against three American cities for the event.

The report stated the event represents an estimated $16 million benefit to the city for hosting the event, and is expected to attract up to 6,000 elite athletes.