As part of ongoing deliberations for the city’s 2013 operating budget, city councillors voted to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to bid on a major sporting event.

Councillors voted Monday to put $600,000 towards a bid to host the 2014 World Grand Final Triathlon.

“It would solidify Edmonton as one of the top triathlon cities in the world, and having that event here will be just a great benefit to all of our city,” Mayor Stephen Mandel said.

The city said Edmonton is competing against three American cities to host the event.

 “Now, we are just bidding, but it is a huge deal,” Councillor Jane Batty said. “It could have up to 5,000 competitors.”

The triathlon would be held at Hawrelak Park, which would require extensive upgrades to bring it up to international standards.

The city has already agreed to spend $100,000 alone, to see what needs to be done to the pond, and how much it would cost.

A local triathlete and Executive Director of Alberta Triathlon said the event would be a good investment for the city.

“There are a lot of good things happening, and I think this is one that will make Edmonton another focal point during the summer,” Local triathlete and Executive Director of Alberta Triathlon Stephen Paiano said.

A decision on which city the 2014 World Grand Final Triathlon will be held in, is expected by the end of January.

If Edmonton wins their bid to host the event, an additional $1.4 million would be needed – and it could cost the city up to $5 million, out of a total $8 million.

Councillor Batty told CTV News the province would be asked to contribute $2 million, and the federal government would be asked to contribute $1 million.

In addition, councillors voted to spend $250,000 to create a Winter City Strategy - in the hopes of making the colder months of the year more attractive to residents and tourists.

The strategy includes a number of winter-themed projects at community leagues, information sessions on ways to take advantage of the cold and free skating.

That money will be spent over three years.

With files from Dez Melenka