Cal­gary won’t make bid, yet, for 2026 Win­ter Olympics

The Hamilton Spectator - - SPORTS - THE CANA­DIAN PRESS

Cal­gary’s city ad­min­is­tra­tion says a de­ci­sion should not be made on bid­ding for the 2026 Win­ter Games un­til the costs of do­ing so are bet­ter un­der­stood.

A re­port high­light­ing some of the unan­swered ques­tions sur­round­ing a po­ten­tial bid is go­ing be­fore this week’s coun­cil meet­ing.

It echoes a bid ex­plo­ration com­mit­tee’s con­clu­sion last week that it’s fea­si­ble for the 1988 Olympics host city to have another turn, but it can’t say yet whether it would be pru­dent.

Mu­nic­i­pal bu­reau­crats say right now it’s im­pos­si­ble to pre­dict the risks of a bid.

Some of the un­knowns in­clude de­tails of the 2026 bid process, what is in the yet-to-be-re­leased host city con­tract and how other or­ders of gov­ern­ment and the In­ter­na­tional Olympic Com­mit­tee may be able help off­set the costs.

The ad­min­is­tra­tors’ re­port also raises con­cerns about the city ex­ceed­ing an ap­pro­pri­ate level of debt if it were to move for­ward with a bid.

They are rec­om­mend­ing the city con­sult with the Cana­dian Olympic Com­mit­tee and the bid ex­plo­ration com­mit­tee to work out next steps.

“While ad­min­is­tra­tion re­mains skep­ti­cal, we are will­ing to keep an open mind as there ap­pears to be sug­ges­tions that mit­i­gat­ing strate­gies to th­ese fi­nan­cial con­cerns and risks may be avail­able,” the city re­port said.

The 17-mem­ber bid ex­plo­ration group chaired by for­mer Cal­gary po­lice chief Rick Han­son had been ex­pect­ing a Septem­ber dead­line for Cal­gary to de­cide on a bid.

But the IOC has since ex­tended the in­vi­ta­tion phase for 2026 bids, mean­ing the city has another year to mull it over.

Han­son said last week it’s rea­son­able to ex­pect the city will have the in­for­ma­tion it needs by early next year.

The bid ex­plo­ration com­mit­tee told city coun­cil last month that the price tag to hold the 2026 Games would be about $4.6 bil­lion. It said the Games would gen­er­ate al­most half that in rev­enue, but another $2.4 bil­lion would be needed.

The 2010 Win­ter Games in Van­cou­ver and Whistler, B.C., cost $7.7 bil­lion.

Cal­gary’s es­ti­mate is lower in part be­cause the city could re­use venues from the 1988 Win­ter Games.

Sion, Switzer­land, and Inns­bruck, Aus­tria, are among Cal­gary’s po­ten­tial ri­vals for a 2026 bid.

Cal­gary Mayor Na­heed Nen­shi has said he’s not ex­pect­ing to see a draft host city con­tract un­til af­ter next year’s Win­ter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

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