Official survey launched on whether Calgary should bid for 2026 Olympics

Feb 23 2017, 6:48 pm

Calgarians now have an opportunity to voice their thoughts on hosting the Olympic Winter Games again, 16 years after Vancouver.

Earlier this week, the Calgary Bid Exploration Committee (CBEC) launched a public questionnaire on its website at providing the public with further context on the current state of the global Olympic movement and what a Calgary 2026 Games could mean for the city.

“Understanding what people in Calgary and the surrounding area think about a potential bid is an important part of our exploration process,” said Brian Hahn, General Manager of CBEC, in a statement. “We want to know where they see the benefits to submitting a bid but also what their concerns are.”

The questionnaire asks respondents to provide feedback on the potential impact on the environment and social and community life as well as the potential for an Olympic legacy.

“Investment in new or renovated facilities or accelerating planned infrastructure projects have substantial community development impacts that can raise the quality of life for citizens for decades after the Games’ conclusion,” reads the survey. “Marginalized populations may benefit through new opportunities for skills development and employment before, during and after the Games.”

By 2026, it will be nearly four decades since Calgary hosted the 15th Olympic Winter Games, and many of the well-used facilities built for the event will require major investments to extend their lifespan and ensure the city continues to be a hub for Canadian winter sport.

“Upgrading existing facilities and building additional venues could add billions in economic activity and thousands of jobs – not to mention hundreds of millions in local business revenue and taxes generated during the Games from associated tourism activity,” the survey continues. “Even an unsuccessful bid could generate increased tourism and investment for Calgary as a result of the nearly two-year international bid process.”

The survey concludes on the key question of CBEC’s key mission: “Now that you have some basic information, and you’ve thought about it a little more, do you oppose or support Calgary bidding for the 2026 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games?”

Last summer, Calgary City Council approved a $5-million fund to establish the CBEC to determine the feasibility of hosting the Games. The organization’s findings, including the results of the questionnaire, will be included in its final report when presented to City Council in July.

City Council must make a decision before the Canadian Olympic Committee’s late-summer deadline on whether it will bid for the Games. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) requires prospective cities to formally state their intent to bid for 2026 by September of this year.

If approved, Calgary’s international bid process alone will likely cost between $30 million to $40 million, and a decision will be made by the IOC at its 132nd Session in the summer or fall of 2019.

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