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City committee discusses survey results indicating 53 per cent of Calgarians support potential Olympic bid
CTV Calgary Staff
Published Monday, August 20, 2018 8:31AM MDT
Last Updated Tuesday, August 21, 2018 12:37PM MDT
Calgary city council and the 2026 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games Assessment Committee met Tuesday to evaluate the latest survey that shows a majority of Calgarians support a potential bid to host the 2026 Games.
However, opponents point out many who support the idea of placing a bid for the winter olympics still have concerns.
A telephone survey conducted in July has determined a slight majority of Calgarians either strongly support or somewhat support a potential Calgary 2026 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games bid.
Using random digit dialing and taking into consideration age, gender and city quadrant representation, 500 Calgarians were polled between July 23 and July 29. The margin of error of the total sample is +/- 4.38 percentage points, 19 times out of 20. Calls were made to landline numbers (62 per cent) and cellular phones (38 per cent).
According to the survey:
- 30 per cent of respondents strongly support a bid
- 23 per cent somewhat support a bid
- 13 per cent are undecided
- 11 per cent somewhat oppose a bid
- 23 per cent strongly oppose a bid
- 1 per cent indicated they don’t know or refused to answer
Proponents said the reason they support a bid include (multiple responses were allowed):
- Benefit the economy (39 per cent)
- Increase in tourism (31 per cent)
- Reinvigorate Calgary/showcase the city as a place for new business (23 per cent)
- Good for the City/Recognition/Energizing (17 per cent)
- Exciting/Fun to watch/Close enough to attend (13 per cent)
- Prestige of hosting (9 per cent)
- New Infrastructure (9 per cent)
- Create a cultural legacy (8 per cent)
- Create a sport legacy (8 per cent)
“When you look at the top three answers why people support, they are generally economic reasons, people think this will be a boon to Calgary's economy, people think it will generate huge tourism revenues for the city, it'll give us the opportunity to showcase our businesses to the world, those are economic reasons for support ,” says Jason Ribeiro with Yes Calgary 2026.
One sports economist says even when all the numbers are released it won't tell the whole story of costs to come.
“I think city Council really needs to consider this as being, this is not supportive, and since they haven't presented a compelling economic argument for what the games will bring a second time around stop it now before it gets too too deep,” says Concordia University’s Moshe Lander .
The most common reasons given for opposing a bid included the cost and taxes (73 per cent of those opposed), funding sources (17 per cent), a negative economic impact (15 per cent) and the money could be better spent elsewhere (9 per cent).
The 13 per cent of respondents who indicated they were undecided on a potential bid said a clear outline of the cost of the bid (25 per cent of undecided respondents), a clear outline of the cost of hosting (24 per cent), a plan for Calgary to not go into debt (16 per cent) and a financing guarantee from other orders of government (16 per cent) were the most likely factors in helping to make a decision.
Representatives of No Calgary Olympics, an organization opposing Calgary’s potential hosting bid, say the survey shows that ‘Calgarians want more information, particularly about costs, before they make a decision’ citing the 75 per cent of the survey’s respondents, including supporters, who expressed concerns with cost and funding.
A plebiscite on a potential bid has been scheduled for November 13.
“The problem is the plebiscite date is firm for November 13 so we are in a squeeze play and this gets back to our prime concern, that hosting, it's not ideal for the host city, we are in a position to work to the IOC's needs and wants and their timeline,” says Erin Waite with No Calgary Olympics.
One expert on Olympic bids says plebiscites can yield interesting results.
“We've seen in the past even though polling ahead of votes have been positive, they've lost, because typically the negative, the opponents of the bid get drawn to the polls,” says Robert Livingstone with Gamesbid.com.
There are four other cities in the mix in Japan, Sweden, Turkey and Italy.
Each city is discussing concerns and already Sapporo, Japan is toying with the idea of switching its bid to 2030.
The International Olympic Committee will announce the winning city in September 2019.