Calgary’s Olympic dream is dying

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Calgary’s pursuit of the 2026 Winter Olympic Games may have been killed in its tracks. City Council agreed on Tuesday that they need to vote on whether or not to advance in the Olympic bid process.

“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 you make a decision.”

This sudden change of direction came after some councillors raised concerns about a lack of neutrality and transparency on the Olympic project team.¬†Ward 1 Councillor Ward Sutherland says, “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.”

Other concerns were on the city’s decision to create a sub-committee designated for public outreach which is filled with people who will benefit from the Olympics coming to Calgary.

“I think it’s important to have that subcommittee and maybe tinker with it and add some members of the public to add some additional oversight….”

Not all councillors are against having the subcommittee. Ward 4 Councillor Sean Chu says a lot of the public asks the subcommittee to be a cheerleader for the winter games.

Ward Sutherland has also said, “…it’s important to have that subcommittee and maybe tinker with it and add some members of the public to add some additional oversight but that’s the whole point of a BidCo. The whole point of going to a BidCo is so we have that independent oversight with all partners involved in making a decision.”

If Calgary does move forward with a bid this could mean a multi-billion dollar influx for projects all around Calgary, upgrades to some of the original sports facilities from the 1988 Winter Olympics and funding for new facilities.

Even with these projected perks some councillors are already saying this bid is a lost cause, making it harder to imagine a Calgary Olympics for 2026.

 

— Louise van Dam

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Councillors calling on City Council to include Calgarians in all aspects of 2026 Olympic Bid exploration

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The City Council agreed that a public vote is necessary to decide whether it is in the best interest of Calgarians, to move forward with any further investment into the bid process for a 2026 Calgary Winter Olympics.

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

Several Councillors expressed concern with how the City has dealt with transparency and errors resulting from the Council’s interest in hosting the Winter Games.

Ward 5 City Councillor, George Chahal believes the public has a right to know what they are signing up for, instead of allowing the city to move forward in the process, without consulting Calgarian’s first.

“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, which I was advocating for, how can you make a decision?”

Ward 4 Councillor, Sean Chu agrees that the City needs to include Calgarian’s in their decision making.

Chahal is also concerned with how the city has set up a sub committee tasked with public outreach on the Olympics that currently only include members with a vested interest in hosting the games.

He believes that including members of the public will result in a fair approach which will give the city a non-biased review of the public’s interest.

Chu agrees with Chahal’s concerns and said that many of his community members are also concerned with a subcommittee that only consists of “cheerleaders” for the Olympics.

If Calgary decides to move forward with a potential bid, the city could see an additional multi-billion dollars spent towards upgrading winter sports facilities built for the Calgary 88′ Winter Olympics, as well as building new ones.

 

 

-Cindy Letic