Calgary city council votes to continue Olympic bid exploration

Calgary city council votes to continue Olympic bid exploration
From CBC - April 16, 2018

Calgary city council voted Monday to continue to explore the possibility of bidding for the 2026 Winter Olympics.

The motion to reaffirm council's support for the investigation of a bid, which passed by a margin of 9-6, was put to council after several members expressed frustration at the way city bureaucrats had been handling the process.

A related motion to create a council sub-committee that will oversee the Olympic bid discussions going forward also passed.

The city has been officially looking into the possibly of making a bid for the 2026 games since 2016, when former police chief Rick Hanson was hired to head a 17-member committee and produce a feasibility study.

Last June, the Calgary Bid Exploration Committee concluded a bid was feasible, and that hosting the 2026 Olympics would cost around $4.6 billion, but that it would require $2.4 billion in funding to cover the shortfall between revenue and costs.

The committee told council that further exploration was needed in order to determine whether it would be prudent for Calgary to bid for the Olympics.

To answer that question, council established the Calgary 2026 Olympic Bid Project Team, which has been continuing to examine the issue.

Last month, council voted 8-6 to spend additional money and to take the next stepsetting up a bid corporation so long as the federal and provincial governments each contributed $10 million toward the $30-millioncost.

The province and Ottawa have since agreed to contribute to the bid corporation, but Premier Rachel Notley's governmentsaid the money is conditional on Calgary holding a plebiscite to gauge public support.

Colley-Urquhart votes to keep going

That gave Coun. Diane Colley-Urquhart, who had been supportive of the bid exploration, a change of heart, saying she did not feel there would be time to put the matter to a citywide vote.

Coun. Jeromy Farkas also complained that the flow of information between city administrators and council has been poorly managed.

Colley-Urquhart and several other councillors also objected to spending $1.9-million on a public consultation plan introduced the following week. That led to the finance committee voting to refer the question of continuing any Olympic bid exploration work to the full council on Monday.

In the end, Colley-Urquhart voted to continue the bid exploration work, saying during Monday's debate that she believes more strongly than ever that the public must be consulted through a plebiscite.

The councillors who voted against continuing to explore a bid were: Sean Chu, Peter Demong, Jeromy Farkas, Druh Farrell, Jyoti Gondek and Joe Magliocca.

Calgary should be wary, says Farkas

During the debate, Farkas read from a list of incidents of alleged corruption by IOC members, compiled by the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, and suggested Calgary should be wary of trusting the organization.

He also argued Calgary's bid exploration process has been too hurried and too much led from the top by politiciansand bureaucrats.

Edmonton will 'wait and see'

Olympians urge process to continue


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