Al­berta to in­vest in Olympics

Prov­ince says it will con­trib­ute if Cal­gary lands Games

Lethbridge Herald - - HEADLINE NEWS - THE CANA­DIAN PRESS — CAL­GARY

The Al­berta govern­ment says it would con­trib­ute a max­i­mum of $700 mil­lion if Cal­gary were to hold the 2026 Win­ter Olympics. The prov­ince says the money is con­tin­gent on a ma­jor­ity of vot­ers sup­port­ing the bid in an up­com­ing plebiscite and on in­creased trans­parency in the or­ga­niz­ing process.

A draft plan for Cal­gary to po­ten­tially host the 2026 Games pegs the cost at $5.2 bil­lion. It sug­gests the city, pro­vin­cial and fed­eral govern­ments should con­trib­ute $3 bil­lion of that.

It says the re­main­der would come from Games rev­enue.

In a let­ter to the city Fri­day, Fi­nance Min­is­ter Joe Ceci said there wouldn’t be any cash be­yond the $700 mil­lion.

“The govern­ment of Al­berta will not be able to pro­vide any ad­di­tional funds that may be re­quired, in­clud­ing those to cover rev­enue short­falls or cost over­runs,” he wrote.

“More­over, we will not be pro­vid­ing any form of guar­an­tee for ad­di­tional costs aris­ing from any source.”

A non-bind­ing plebiscite on whether the city should bid for the 2026 Olympics is Nov. 13. The govern­ment in­sisted Cal­gary hold it and con­trib­uted $2 mil­lion to the cost.

Mayor Na­heed Nen­shi and Coun. Evan Wool­ley, chair­man of the city’s Olympic as­sess­ment com­mit­tee, said they are pleased that the prov­ince would be will­ing to throw money into the pot.

“We’re pleased that the prov­ince has come for­ward with their in­vest­ment,” they said in a state­ment. “We have to an­a­lyze this an­nounce­ment, while con­tin­u­ing our con­ver­sa­tions with the govern­ment of Canada.

“We imag­ine there will be more to say about the city and fed­eral govern­ment con­tri­bu­tions in the next few days.”

Fed­eral Sport Min­is­ter Kirsty Dun­can has ex­pressed en­thu­si­asm for a bid, but Ot­tawa has not said ex­actly how much it would con­trib­ute.

Cal­gary 2026, the cor­po­ra­tion lead­ing bid ef­forts, has fore­cast $2.2 bil­lion in di­rect pri­vate sec­tor in­vest­ment, a $2-bil­lion boost to Al­berta’s GDP and $200 mil­lion in pro­vin­cial and mu­nic­i­pal tax rev­enue if the Games were to go ahead.

The plan calls for $400 mil­lion on two new venues — a field­house and mid-sized arena — and $500 mil­lion to re­fur­bish old ones that would be in­cluded in a bid, many of which date back to when Cal­gary held the 1988 Win­ter Games.

Some events would be held west of Cal­gary in the Rocky Moun­tain town of Can­more, at the Nakiska ski re­sort in what is known as Kananaskis Coun­try and as far away as Whistler, B.C.

The plan in­cludes $583 mil­lion for tem­po­rary ac­com­mo­da­tions for ath­letes, me­dia and of­fi­cials that would be con­verted into mostly af­ford­able hous­ing in the long term.

Cal­gary and a com­bined Ital­ian bid of Mi­lanCortina d’Am­pezzo could be the only con­tenders for 2026. A coali­tion deal to run Stock­holm’s city govern­ment on Fri­day leaves the Swedish cap­i­tal’s po­ten­tial bid in jeop­ardy.

The dead­line to sub­mit a 2026 bid to the In­ter­na­tional Olympic Com­mit­tee is Jan. 11.

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