Canmore gives conditional go-ahead to Olympic bid process
Mountain town’s interest in Olympic bid centres on plans for more affordable housing
The small mountain town that could play an outsized role in Calgary’s 2026 Winter Olympics bid has officially given its support.
In a vote Tuesday night, Canmore town council expressed nearly unanimous support for the bid.
In Calgary, the amount of money the city could be on the hook for has been a sticking point as people debate the bid, and Canmore’s green light is also conditional on a funding arrangement the mayor says he wants to see confirmed.
The town, about an hour west of Calgary and renowned for its access to hiking and skiing, wants “satisfactory terms” for an agreement
with other orders of government about operational costs that Canmore, as the host of two sports, would be expected to take on during the 2026 Olympics.
Mayor John Borrowman said he’s optimistic that a solution can be found, but he
hopes to see certainty before the January 2019 deadline for the Calgary Olympic Bid Corp. to submit its proposal to the International Olympic Committee — assuming the bid progresses beyond Calgary’s Nov. 13 plebiscite.
Canmore would contribute $10 million toward the bid: $6 million in the value of the land where the athletes’ village would be built, and $4 million in cash.
Canmore councillors voted 6-1 Tuesday night to support the bid, which includes hosting biathlon and cross-country skiing events at the Canmore Nordic Centre, as well as building an Olympic village in the town of 14,000.
Town councillor Joanna McCallum was the sole council member who opposed the Olympic motion. She proposed several amendments, all of which were rejected, including getting a guarantee about how policing and security costs would be covered in the town during the Games.
The village would be converted into 242 housing units after the Games, and 218 of those would become perpetually affordable housing.
That could make a big difference in the town.
“In Canmore, that’s our most serious need,” Borrowman said.
With Calgarians days from voting on support for a 2026 Olympics bid, Canmore Mayor John Borrowman says he trusts the process.