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

 

 

2026 Olympics: to bid or not to bid

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The battle over the Olympic bid has been ongoing for the past few month. Calgary’s City Councillors are struggling to see eye to eye on the issue, but an agreement was made to vote on Tuesday about whether to continue further investment or not took place.

Some Councillor brought the raising concern that Calgarian’s are being left in the dark and aren’t aware of all of the missteps and the absence of neutrality on the city’s Olympic project team.

Another concern was the city’s choice to have a subcommittee tasked with public outreach with those who would benefit from having the Olympics come back to Calgary.

“We should be concerned with the level of transparency” 

Calgary Ward 5 Councillor George Chaha, is advocating for the what the may not public know “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?”

But some councillors found the subcommittee to be a more impactful way to connect with the public.

“A lot of public ask the same question”

Calgary Ward 4 Councillor Sean Chu had a different take on the issue saying “Well as you heard yesterday and you saw, a lot of public ask the same question is that many of you on the subcommittee are ‘cheerleader’ as I heard on the council floor of Olympic.”

There is a clear issue in regards to transparency but with the some councillors members already seeing the bid as dead, it makes it difficult to believe Calgary will be partying like 1988 and hosting the 2026 Winter Olympics.

-Vanessa Arrate

 

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

 

 

 

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