Cal­gary can bid for Win­ter Olympics

St. Thomas Times-Journal - - SPORTS - DONNA SPENCER

CAL­GARY — The In­ter­na­tional Olympic Com­mit­tee has in­vited Cal­gary to com­pete for the 2026 Win­ter Olympic and Par­a­lympic Games, but Cal­gar­i­ans are prov­ing more dif­fi­cult to im­press than the IOC.

Cal­gary, Stockholm and Mi­lan-Cortina, Italy, got the IOC’s stamp of ap­proval to bid for 2026 in a mem­bers vote Tues­day in Buenos Aires, Ar­gentina.

But, Cal­gary must suc­cess­fully sell a bid at home ahead of a Nov. 13 plebiscite be­fore the city can start an in­ter­na­tional cam­paign, ac­cord­ing to Cal­gary 2026 board chair Scott Hutch­e­son.

“Our view is we need to take care of our do­mes­tic in­ter­ests first, make sure Cal­gar­i­ans are in­formed, make sure we’re lis­ten­ing to Cal­gar­i­ans and that they un­der­stand what is in their prospec­tive bid,” Hutch­e­son told The Cana­dian Press from Buenos Aires.

“Un­til Nov. 13, I think the man­age­ment, my­self and the board, our real fo­cus is to try and make sure we’re do­ing the right thing for Cal­gar­i­ans, Al­ber­tans and Cana­di­ans, get­ting the in­for­ma­tion at that level.

“If we went for­ward af­ter the plebiscite, then it’s time for us to spend more time in what’s re­ferred to as the in­ter­na­tional re­la­tions.”

Coin­ci­den­tally, Cal­gary beat out Swedish and Ital­ian en­tries — Falun and Cortina — to host the 1988 Win­ter Olympics.

The IOC will ac­cept 2026 bids in Jan­uary, but also an­nounced Tues­day the elec­tion of the suc­cess­ful 2026 host city has been moved up to June in Lausanne, Switzer­land, in­stead of Septem­ber in Mi­lan.

Af­ter pre­sent­ing a draft host plan to city coun­cil and the pub­lic Sept. 11, the bid cor­po­ra­tion Cal­gary 2026 is ne­go­ti­at­ing fi­nan­cial agree­ments with the city, prov­ince and fed­eral gov­ern­ments and try­ing to en­gage the pub­lic in its plan.

Cal­gary 2026’s draft host plan es­ti­mated the cost of host­ing at $5.2 bil­lion and asks the three lev­els of government to con­trib­ute $3 bil­lion of that.

The re­main­der would be paid for via games rev­enues.

The bud­get in­cludes $1.1 bil­lion in op­er­at­ing and capital con­tin­gency funds to mit­i­gate risk, ac­cord­ing to Cal­gary 2026.

Cal­gary city coun­cil has re­served the right to pull the plug on a bid.

Mayor Na­heed Nen­shi and some coun­cil­lors ex­pressed con­cern Tues­day over get­ting hard fig­ures from the Al­berta and Cana­dian gov­ern­ments on how much they would con­trib­ute to host­ing the games in time for the plebiscite.

“I don’t think it’s fair to ask peo­ple to vote with­out the in­for­ma­tion, but we re­ally do need to make sure our part­ners at the Government of Al­berta and the Government of Canada are ready to have that in­for­ma­tion in plenty of time be­fore the plebiscite,” Nen­shi said Tues­day.

“Cer­tainly not the day be­fore. We want to make sure there’s op­por­tu­nity for good pub­lic de­bate. I’m try­ing to press ev­ery­body to move as quickly as pos­si­ble.”

The Al­berta government in­sisted Cal­gary hold a plebiscite, which is non-bind­ing, and con­trib­uted $2 mil­lion to the cost of it.

The prov­ince also com­mit­ted to pub­licly stat­ing 30 days be­fore the vote — which is Satur­day — what it would con­trib­ute to host­ing the games.

Sport Canada’s pol­icy for host­ing in­ter­na­tional sport events states the fed­eral con­tri­bu­tion is up to 50 per cent of the pub­lic in­vest­ment — a max­i­mum of $1.5 bil­lion in this case — but has yet to pro­vide a de­fin­i­tive fig­ure.

Cal­gary groups op­pos­ing and sup­port­ing a bid have es­ca­lated their cam­paigns on so­cial me­dia. News­pa­per ed­i­to­ri­als have been writ­ten crit­i­ciz­ing the pro­posed eco­nomic ben­e­fits of host­ing a games.

Corruption and dop­ing scan­dals around Olympic Games have also made peo­ple wary of want­ing the event in their cities.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.