City Council passes the torch for future of Olympic bid

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The pursuit for Calgary’s 2026 Winter Olympic bid might be slipping away.

A City Council committee meeting held on Tuesday agreed that a vote is needed before putting more investments into the Olympic bid process.

Several councilors argue that a lack of transparency and neutrality from the city’s Olympic project team has left many Calgarians confused and uncertain. Councilors are also concerned about the decision to fill a subcommittee tasked with public outreach from people who stand to benefit from a future Olympics.

“If the public doesn’t know about the information, which I was advocating for, how can you make a decision?”

Another Olympics in Calgary could mean a multi-billion dollar influx for project around Calgary, such as upgrading the city’s 40 year old winter sport facilities and creating new ones.

Councilor of ward 5 George Chahal says “We should be concerned with the level of transparency because if the public doesn’t know about the information, which I was advocating for, how can you make a decision.” Chahal also thinks the whole point of the BidCo is to have independent oversight with all partners involved and the subcommittee is an important part of that.

But not all councilors are seeing eye to eye, Ward 4’s Councilor Sean Chu says the public is concerned that many people on the subcommittee are “Cheerleaders” for the Olympic bid.

As Calgarians question what is going on and if their concerns are being heard, some councilors are saying the bid may already be a lost cause. Hopefully the upcoming vote can give the city a better idea of how to move forward and open the door for more transparency.

 

-Kyle Hutton

 

 

 

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Olympic bid sub-comittee remains controversial at city hall

 

bobsled-team-run-olympics-38631.jpegOpinions remain mixed among-st councilors in the city when it comes to the exact idea of how handle a subcommitte tasked with public outreach with the city’s Olympic bid.

The exact point of the subcommittee is to find the average citizen’s opinion on such a sweeping and at times controversial subject. Or at least in theory. Now, concerns are being raised as to whether the structure and attitude of the committee are objective.

Some councilors, such as George Chahal, say the city hasn’t been transparent enough and that the direction the subcommittee is headed in is too biased toward the pro-Olympics side as opposed to genuinely asking Calgarians for their subjective opinions.

Chahal was not one to hide his opinion on the subject:

“The whole point of going to a bidco is so we can have that independent oversight with all partners involved in making a decision.”

Sean Chu, however, disagreed and said the councilors were falsely being made out to be “cheerleaders”

While the subcommittee will nonetheless continue to make decisions in reaching out to Calgarians and Albertans in general, the inner workings may consist of more civilians in the future. The Olympic bid itself, however remains a hot topic on an international scale.

by Logan Sowers

Calgary’s Olympic bid trapped under ice after city council vote.

Olympic Torch

After arguments and disagreements between city council, Calgary’s 2026 winter Olympic bid may be on its last legs.

City Council agreed Tuesday that a vote on whether to continue the bid will be necessary in order to move forward.

The bid has been a hot topic in Calgary, as city council has argued for months on whether to actually pursue the bid.

One of the key issues raised is the cost of the Olympics, which is expected to be billions,  including upgrades to current sports facilities and building new ones.

However, the main topic of concern at this meeting was not the money, but rather concerns about transparency and lack of communication with the public over the bid.

Councillor George Chahal made his opinion clear saying “If the public doesn’t have the information, how can you make a decision?”

“If the public doesnt know and doesn’t have the information, how can you make a decision?”

Another major concern is the creation of a subcommittee tasked with public outreach over the bid that currently has no members of the public on it.

While several oppose the planned committee, there are some councilors who think its a vital and important part of the bid, including councilor George Chahal who says “The whole point of going to a Bidco is so we have the independent oversight with all partners involved in making a decision.”

Councilor Sean Chu also showed his support for the committee saying “A lot of the public ask the same question is that many of you on the subcommittee are.”

“A lot of the public ask the same question is that many of you on the subcomitte are.”

The lack of communication, financial security, and solidarity between council are huge threats for the bid, and while some Calgarians are hopeful that a solution to these problems can be found, many council members are convinced that once the vote is counted on Monday the Olympic dream in Calgary will be over.

-Ryan O’Donnell

Olympics or no-lympics? Conflicting council could jeopardize bid

Olympic Torch

Recently, it’s been one of the hottest discussions at city hall: should Calgary host the 2026 Winter Olympic Games?

Calgary City Council has been divided on the issue since day one of discussion, but now the difference of opinion could mean no Olympics for Calgary.

“…we should be concerned with the level of transparency…” – George Chahal, ward 5 councilor

Some councilors have shown concern about the neutrality of the issue, and how committees tasked with searching for answers about the issue have been constructed.

George Chahal, ward 5 councilor said “I think we should be concerned with the level of transparency, because if the public doesn’t know and doesn’t have the information, which I was advocating for, how can you make a decision?”, where other councilors think an Olympics subcommittee could help the process.

Sean Chu, ward 4 councilor, thinks a subcommittee in support of the Olympics isn’t necessarily a bad idea, but the push-back from other councilors could be the ultimate bid-killer.

Chahal also noted the necessity of a subcommittee, but reinforced the importance of having the public be part of it.

Calgarians could have more of a voice about the issue if the public gets added to the mix, but in the mean time councilors will continue to “duke it out” until the ultimate decision is made.

-Danny Seymour

Calgary 2026 Olympic bid hangs in the balance

Olympic Torch

The potential 2026 Winter Olympic bid for Calgary remains in contention amongst city council.

City council agreed Tuesday morning, that a vote is needed to determine if any further pursuit in a bid is warranted.

“We should be concerned with the level of transparency”

A 2026 Olympics could mean funding for new sports facilities and upgrades for old ones, such as the Olympic Oval or Canada Olympic Park.

There are some councillors like George Chahal, that have expressed concern about an absence in transparency that comes with the city’s Olympic project.

“Well, I think we should be concerned with the level of transparency because if the public doesn’t know and doesn’t have the information… how can you make a decision?”

Transparency is not the only dividing concern, as the task to fill a subcommittee with members of the public who may benefit from the Games, left Sean Chu, city councilor, suggesting that citizens on this committee are “cheerleaders” in favour of a bid.

Chahal believes that the subcommittee “add[s] some additional oversight”, but says that the point of a subcommittee is to be involved with every relevant party, when making a decision on 2026.

-Max Sturley

Olympic bid indecision saga continues for city council

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Debate over Calgary’s proposed Olympic bid continued Tuesday, as city councillors agreed that a vote is needed on whether or not council will continue to pursue the idea of hosting the 2026 Games.

The notion of a potential bid has divided councillors, with many citing a lack of transparency and public engagement as central concerns.

 “I think we should be concerned with the level of transparency because if the public doesn’t know and doesn’t have the information, which I was advocating for, how can you make a decision?”

– Ward 5 Councillor George Chahal

Councillor George Chahal is calling for greater transparency and public involvement in the process, saying council “should be concerned with the level of transparency” surrounding the decision.

In an attempt to involve Calgarians, council decided to form a subcommittee tasked with public outreach. A few councillors however, including Chahal, have expressed dissatisfaction over the subcommittee, due to the perception that it has been filled with people that stand to benefit from the Olympics coming to Calgary.

Chahal admitted he believes it’s important to have the subcommittee, but that perhaps council should “tinker with it, and add some members of the public to add some additional oversight.”

Councillor Sean Chu agreed with Chahal’s sentiment, identifying the subcommittee as a “cheerleader” for the bid, that may not be entirely neutral.

A lack of neutrality regarding engagement with the public will remain a concern, if council’s vote proves to support the progression towards a bid.

— Danica Ferris

 

Is Calgary’s Olympic Bid on thin ice?

Olympic Torch

The prospect of another Olympics in Calgary is exiting to many people, and the 88′ Olympics in Calgary were the last Olympics to make a profit. So the decision on whether or not to bid for the 2026 Winter Olympics should an easy one, right? Not for city council.

A council subcommittee has decided that a vote is needed to determine whether or not to continue Calgary’s Olympic Bid proses. But this subcommittee is raising questions of its own, and many councilors are concerned about the lack of transparency within the committee.

“Well, I think we should be very concerned with the level of transparency”

George Chahal, Ward 5 Councilor, expressed how he was “concerned with the level of transparency” from the subcommittee. He also continued on saying “If the public doesn’t know and have the information, which I was advocating for, how can you make a decision”

But Chahal is not opposed to a subcommittee, saying “I think it’s important to have a subcommittee” continuing on saying “the whole point of going to a bidco is so we have that independent oversight with all partners involved in the decision.”

Sean Chu, Ward 4, said that he heard many people calling  the subcommittee “cheerleader” for the Olympic bid.

The vote is expected to come soon, and then we’ll know if the bid is dead, or will gain a second life.

Jordan Bay, April 17th, 2018