Calgary City Council votes to continue exploring 2026 Winter Olympics bid

Apr 16 2018, 7:34 pm

The Olympic dream stays alive in Calgary, following a Monday morning vote from City Council.

The question of whether or not the city should continue forward with their exploration of a 2026 Winter Olympics bid was put to a vote on Monday, resulting in nine votes for and six against.

Councillor Jeff Davison was firmly on the yes side, giving a speech on the floor of council before the vote.

“Before you vote no, think of our international reputation and the benefits we stand to receive as we compete on the global stage,” he said.

“I am ready to accept the outcome of whatever council decides here. But I ask you to think rationally and not on emotion. I ask you to consider our city’s future.”

Councillors Ward Sutherland, Gian-Carlo Carra, George Chahal, Colley Urquhart, Ray Jones, Shane Keating, Evan Woolley, Naheed Nenshi, and Davison himself were all on the for side, with Sean Chu, Peter Demong, Jeromy Farkas, Druh Farrell, Jyoti Gondek, and Joe Magliocca voting against.

A city-wide plebiscite is expected to occur sometime around October to the tune of $1.9 million. Another $30 million or so is necessary for the official bid, though the federal and provincial governments have agreed to foot a one-third portion of that bill, each.

On Friday, April 13, the Canadian Olympic Committee held a rally in Calgary urging councillors to give the public the chance to vote on whether or not they’d like the Winter Olympics to return to their city after 38 years.

“We support a vote for Calgarians to choose to continue the conversation around a potential Winter Games bid and we are confident that City Council will provide that opportunity,” Canadian Olympic Committee CEO Chris Overholt said in a release.

“Sport has had a positive impact not only to the Calgary community but across the country and we owe it to our athletes, present and future, to thoroughly explore a bid before making a decision.”

If Calgary goes through with the bid, they will know by October if they have been accepted into the second stage of the candidate procedure.

After that, the International Olympic Committee will make their final decision on the 2026 Olympics host ceremony in September 2019.

Six other countries have been officially listed as potential host cities for the games, with Calgary, Alberta competing against Graz, Austria; Cortina d’Ampezzo/Milan/Turin, Italy; Sapporo, Japan; Stockholm, Sweden; Sion, Switzerland; and Erzurum, Turkey for a chance at hosting the international competition.

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