City council has spent months talking about pursuing a bid for the Winter Olympics in 2026 and on Monday they agreed to continue working on the process.

An Olympic bid would cost about $30 million and council has heard arguments on both sides of the issue over the past few months.

Some say the cost is too high and the return too little but several high-profiles athletes stepped up on Friday in support of a bid saying another Olympics will have a positive impact on the community.

The city has spent about $6 million so far and a nine to six vote on Monday means council will continue to explore a bid for the games in eight years’ time.

“I am actually really pleased with the debate today. I think it was very respectful and very thoughtful on all sides and I’m really happy that councillors, including the two you mentioned, but all of them really spent a ton of time over the weekend considering their position, analyzing themselves, asking themselves questions about whether they were doing the right thing or not and I think that’s really helpful,” said Mayor Naheed Nenshi. “What council agreed to do today is keep exploring, figure out what this whole thing looks like, figure out where the facilities are, that’s all part of the creation of the bid book.”

Council still needs to decide whether or not to go ahead with a plebiscite and public engagement process.

“I’ve never been engaged in a plebiscite while I’ve been in office before. I think it’s important that the facts come out in front of Calgarians,” said Nenshi. “I think it’s extremely important that the city remain neutral and that we have enough time. “

A public vote would not happen before October and would cost about $1.96 million to conduct.

Council has pushed that discussion to next week’s meeting.

Cities will be invited to bid for the 2026 Winter Olympics by the IOC in October.

Invited candidates must then submit a formal bid proposal by January and a host city will be selected by the IOC Session in September 2019.

For more on the city’s potential Olympic bid click HERE.