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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Calgary 2026 Olympic bid hangs in the balance

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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