Our guide to vot­ing on Cal­gary’s Olympic bid

With one week to de­cide, here’s what’s at stake

StarMetro Calgary - - FRONT PAGE - MADE­LINE SMITH

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It’s been a tu­mul­tuous cou­ple of weeks for Cal­gary’s 2026 Olympics bid, but the quest to throw the city’s hat in the ring for an­other Win­ter Games is still on — and so is the plebiscite where Cal­gar­i­ans will weigh in on whether they want to be a re­peat host.

With the Nov. 13 vote day loom­ing, and with ad­vance vot­ing on Tues­day and Wed­nes­day, here’s

Why do Cal­gar­i­ans have to vote on this?

When the Cal­gary Olympic Bid Corp. (of­ten known as BidCo, or Cal­gary 2026) was cre­ated ear­lier this year — with joint fund­ing from the city, prov­ince and Ot­tawa — one of the con­di­tions for fund­ing from the Al­berta gov­ern­ment was hold­ing a plebiscite. Cal­gary city coun­cil set Nov. 13 as the of­fi­cial date in July.

How much will Games cost?

Cal­gary 2026 pre­sented its draft host­ing plan at the be­gin­ning of Septem­ber. At the time, the group said the Olympics would cost $5.23 bil­lion, with $3 bil­lion com­ing from pub­lic funds shared by the city, prov­ince and feds. The rest comes from pri­vate in­vest­ment and rev­enue from ticket sales, and the IOC is slated to chip in $925 mil­lion (U.S.).

Last week, BidCo pre­sented a re­worked bud­get af­ter the three lev­els of gov­ern­ment couldn’t come to a fi­nal agree­ment on how to split that cost. Now, BidCo says the Games will cost $5.1 bil­lion and gov­ern­ments need to con­trib­ute $2.875 bil­lion.

How much will Cal­gary pay?

Ac­cord­ing to a fund­ing pro­posal cur­rently on the ta­ble, Cal­gary is on the hook for a lit­tle less than $400 mil­lion: $370 mil­lion in cash, plus an ad­di­tional $20 mil­lion to pur­chase an in­surance pol­icy.

The agree­ment pro­poses count­ing the $200-mil­lion value of that in­surance, plus $150 mil­lion al­ready slated for in­vest­ment in ac­cess im­prove­ments to the Stam­pede grounds, as part of the city’s con­tri­bu­tion.

The math­e­mat­i­cal gym­nas­tics

are nec­es­sary to meet the fed­eral gov­ern­ment’s pol­icy for host­ing in­ter­na­tional sport events, which lim­its it to cov­er­ing up to 50 per cent of the to­tal pub­lic-sec­tor con­tri­bu­tion to the event.

With the Al­berta gov­ern­ment of­fer­ing a firm $700 mil­lion for a 2026 bid, the city needed to find a way to in­crease its con­tri­bu­tion to be able to ac­cess about $1.4 bil­lion in match­ing funds from the feds.

Both the provin­cial and fed­eral gov­ern­ments say a “yes” vote in the plebiscite is a con­di­tion of of­fer­ing the Olympic fund­ing.

Where would Olympic events be held?

Cal­gary, Can­more and Nakiska would be the pri­mary 2026 hosts, but BidCo is propos­ing putting ski jump­ing and Nordic com­bined at the Whistler, B.C., ski jumps. Pos­si­ble lo­ca­tions for curl­ing are still up in the air.

What would Cal­gary get from host­ing?

The draft host­ing plan pro­poses re­fur­bish­ing sev­eral Cal­gary venues, in­clud­ing the BMO Cen­tre, McMa­hon Sta­dium and the Sad­dle­dome. The plan would also see a new mid-sized arena with a ca­pac­ity

of up to 6,000 peo­ple and a field­house.

BidCo says ath­letes’ vil­lages in Can­more and Cal­gary would also be con­verted into hous­ing af­ter the Games. The hous­ing com­mit­ment was cut by 1,000 units in BidCo’s up­dated bud­get, but it says 710 hous­ing units — a mix of mar­ket, at­tain­able and af­ford­able hous­ing — would be built in Cal­gary.

What are the risks of host­ing?

Econ­o­mists and Olympic ex­perts are wary of the pos­si­bil­ity of cost over­runs. Univer­sity of Al­berta so­cial sci­ences pro­fes­sor Stacy Lorenz and Univer­sity of Cal­gary econ­o­mist Trevor Tombe have both said se­cu­rity costs could be es­pe­cially wor­ri­some.

Where do I vote?

The city has in­for­ma­tion about where to find polling sta­tions at cal­gary.ca/vote2018, or you can call 311. There are ad­vance vot­ing sta­tions in all 14 of the city’s wards, and Mount Royal Univer­sity and the Univer­sity of Cal­gary are also host­ing vote sta­tions on Tues­day and Wed­nes­day, re­spec­tively.


Cal­gary 2026 Olympic bid sup­port­ers lis­ten to speeches dur­ing a rally on Mon­day.


Pro­test­ers op­posed to Cal­gary’s bid for the 2026 Win­ter Olympics wait for city coun­cil to de­cide whether the bid will go for­ward on Oct. 31.


Bill My­ers, act­ing leader of elec­tions and cen­sus at the City of Cal­gary, demon­strates the tab­u­la­tor ma­chine that will count bal­lots for the Nov. 13 Olympics plebiscite.

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