Calgary city council votes next week whether to develop bid for 2026 Winter Olympics
Published Monday, November 13, 2017 6:18AM MST Last Updated Monday, November 13, 2017 8:44PM MST
Calgary city council decided Monday to vote next week on whether or not to commit another $2M to start developing a bid for the Olympics in 2026.
The International Olympic Committee has updated its deadline for cities interested in bidding saying it needs a commitment by March 2018 to enter what it’s calling the “dialogue stage”.
City administration says a lot more work needs to be done which is why more money is needed.
“Things have been compressed substantially, so we’re looking at requesting council to support what I would call an increased effort or increased level of commitment towards the project so we can do multiple streams of work in parallel,” said Kyle Ripley with the City of Calgary.
If another $2M is approved it will be used to start developing a “bid book” for Calgary and form a bid committee early next year.
The IOC says five cities are interested in possibly hosting the games which Mayor Naheed Nenshi believes works in Calgary’s favour IF the city decides to submits a formal bid.
“It's council's choice and it's Calgary's choice and if we choose to bid, we'll win,” says Nenshi. “The question is - is it right for Calgary right now?”
Ward 7 Councillor Druh Farrell is concerned Calgary is giving too much up in this process.
“What also worries me is the presentation appeared one-sided on the benefits of the Olympics. I think we know the benefits of the Olympics; we’ve experienced them before,” she says. “There are huge risks associated with the Olympics. We have to have a better understanding of those risks because they are different than 1988.”
In total, the Olympic bid would cost the city $4.6B with taxpayers needing to pay $2.4B of that amount.
The International Olympic Committee says it would be gifting host cities with nearly a billion dollars to help with costs.