WebStamp September 05, 2018
Be Prepared For the 2026 Olympic Plebiscite
Amidst the lack of information presented for hosting the 2026 Winter Olympics confusion has arisen prompting the Alberta Government to request a plebiscite for the citizens of Calgary to choose on whether or not to host before they committed funding. Studies have shown that the majority of Calgarians are for hosting the Olympics, even amongst the confusion of info. Hopefully after September 10 when city council unveils the Games Concept Plan to the public Calgarians will have accurate information to decide if hosting the Olympics would be worth the effort.
The biggest question taxpayers are asking is: How Much Will It Cost Us? Including the infrastructure, security, and travel the price for hosting the Olympics in Calgary has been estimated at C$4.6 billion. It may seem a lot, however, it is almost half of the C$7 billion Vancouver spent on the 2010 Olympics. Pyeongchang in South Korea spent US$12.9 billion and Sochi, Russia, cost US$50 million-plus in 2014. The exuberant expenses were because of the many additional non-Olympic venues that were included.
Hosting an Olympic event can be lucrative both financially and infrastructure as seen with the Los Angeles in 1984 and Barcelona in 1992, and Seoul breaking even. Even Calgary’s 1988 Winter Olympics, which cost C$829 million, was estimated that 70% of the C$1.4 billion of economic benefit to Canada benefitted Alberta. Calgary is one of the few cities that have continued to use their Olympic venues to enhance the lifestyles of its citizens for the last 30 years. We now have the opportunity to upgrade the existing venues and build new ones that will definitely be a benefit to the city for another 30 years.
The Calgary entrepreneur, investor and philanthropist Brett Wilson wrote a great article about how we owe it to ourselves to do real due diligence, and to embrace common sense in the process to host the Winter Games in eight years. Brett makes an interesting point about the lack of talks with co-operating communities. Calgary council members discussed the possibility of holding some venues at the Nordic Center in Canmore as done at the 1988 Games. Canmore approached the Alberta Government to include them in the referendum. Brett Wilson suggests “Let’s quickly poll all residents who are on the city tax rolls. With a bit of effort, we could also include Enmax customers to broaden the reach. Let’s ask taxpayers to respond on a sliding scale – rather than a simple (and likely misleading) yes or no.”
We could also include Red Deer and Edmonton and use their facilities preventing us from having to build new ones. This may even help actually develop that long talked about high-speed train between Calgary and Edmonton, with a quick stop in Red Deer of course. The 2026 Winter Olympics could be a provincial effort with Calgary being the hub of the excitement. We might as well get assistance from the rest of the province since they will benefit also.
There is a lot to consider, but most of all we must look at how it will benefit and shape Calgary’s, Alberta’s and even Canada’s future. The lack of information on how Calgary will host the 2026 Winter Olympics doesn’t help in making an informed decision. Our winter recreational facilities will need upgrading regardless if we host or don’t host. The same goes for city infrastructure and the need for new facilities for a growing city. Hosting could help reduce some of the costs.
Find out what city council decides whether to continue bidding on September 10 with the information provided in the 2026 Olympic Concept Plan. Make sure you explore the Concept Plan and decide for yourself if it will be worth it. Ask yourself how can the Olympics benefit Calgarians now and in the future. Do Calgarians want a new stadium, convention centre, and/or arena? Join The M.A.D. Movement and Make A Difference in Calgary’s future by voting in the November 13th Plebiscite. It’s up to You!
Share This Article
Articles in this Issue