WebStamp August 22, 2018
To Host Or Not To Host the 2026 Winter Olympics?
An augmented debate has arisen about whether or not Calgary should host another Winter Olympics. This city did manage to host a successful Winter Olympics back in 1988, also with much controversy. Hosting an Olympic event today presents many additional challenges from hosting one 30 years ago. The Olympics are much larger with many more athletes and countries competing along with larger crowds of spectators. And there are other concerns like the need for additional security, safety and the of handling larger crowds.
The debate all began in 2015 when Toronto dropped their bid for the 2024 Summer Games giving Calgary a chance to bid for the 2026 Winter Games. In June of 2016 City Council voted 12-2 in favour of spending $5 million to explore the possibilities of hosting another Olympics. An advisory committee was formed by the Canadian Olympic Committee in July of 2016 to investigate a possible bid. A poll on March 21, 2017, commissioned by Postmedia expressed that 61% of Calgarians would support a bid for the 2026 Winter Olympics, with only 28% opposing a bid and 11% were unsure.
The committee estimated that the cost of hosting the 2026 Olympics would be $4.6 billion with taxpayers contributing $2.4 billion. This is far less than the $7-billion price tag for the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics. It seems that Vancouver feels that it was well worth the price which helped spur major infrastructure projects revitalizing Vancouver and Whistler. In fact, the Vancouver Winter Olympics became almost debt-free 4 years later with revenues and expenses just shy of $1.9 billion.
Imaging Calgary generating over a $2-billion profit four years after the games. Of course, this all stems from proper planning, designing and execution. Some are saying why are we wasting our time, we could be spending taxpayer’s money on better things like affordable housing. Why not use the accommodations that are built for the athletes to serve a residual purpose after the games as affordable housing for Calgarians? We could use the Olympics today as a way to stimulate the slow Calgary infrastructure development shaping Calgary’s future.
Organizers plan to unveil the Games Concept Plan to the public on September 10. The report will include information about costs, sustainability, venues, and legacy impacts, among other details. A major stumbling block is the lack of commitment by the federal and provincial governments on their part for funding another Canadian Olympics. The delays have altered Calgarian opinions on whether we should host or not host the Games in 2026. Be sure to read the city poll to get an insight on how Calgarians feel about hosting the Calgary 2026 Winter Olympics, which suggests support has dropped down to 53%.
Even though there is a lack of information about how Calgary will host the Games, with proper planning and implementation Calgary could host another successful Olympics. This will boost not only Calgary’s economy and infrastructure but Canada’s also. We will discover on September 10 whether City Council decides if there is enough information to continue with the bidding process.
If the council decides to continue, we can expect to have our say if you are “for or against” hosting the 2026 Winter Olympics with the planned November 13th plebiscite. After council releases the findings of the concept plan be sure to read it so you understand what is proposed, how it will be executed, and the benefits now and in the future Calgary will acquire from inviting the World to our doorstep.
Join the M.A.D. Movement and Make A Difference by having your say in Calgary’s future with the November 13th plebiscite. There will be only 3 weeks to explore the Concept Plan and to vote in the plebiscite. Make sure your family, friends, neighbours, and co-workers make their M.A.D. Move and decide how Calgary proceeds with hosting the Calgary 2026 Winter Olympics.