Calgary’s dream of hosting the 2026 Winter Olympics may end abruptly next Monday.
The question of whether or not Calgary should continue to pursue the bid will be put to a city council vote on April 16, after council’s priorities and finance committee met on Tuesday to discuss the cost of moving forward.
If council votes yes, a city-wide plebiscite will likely be in order, to the estimated tune of $1.96 million.
The soonest a plebiscite would possibly be administered would be October of this year, allowing for six months of engaging the public, organizing the vote, and training the 3,000 employees that would be needed to man the polls.
A no vote would extinguish Calgary’s bid and take it off the list of potential host cities.
The International Olympic Committee recently released a list of the seven countries that are vying for the 2026 Winter Olympic Games, with Canada’s Calgary, Alberta being joined by Graz, Austria; Cortina d’Ampezzo/Milan/Turin, Italy; Sapporo, Japan; Stockhold, Sweden; Sion, Switzerland; and Erzurum, Turkey.
The City Council had voted on whether or not to host a 2026 Olympics plebiscite in the past, with Councillor Sean Chu suggesting that a question regarding the bid be added to the October 2017 civic election.
Chu’s suggestion was voted down 12-3, with councillors stating that it was too early to ask the public about the possibility of a bid.
An online survey was later administered by the city in early 2017, which asked respondents to provide feedback on the potential impacts of hosting the 2026 Winter Olympics.
Results from the survey showed that Calgarians appeared to be in favour of hosting the Winter Olympics for the second time in 38 years, showing support from 64% of respondents, and opposition from only 17%.
According to the results, support among Calgarians was higher for newer residents and those in the younger age range.
If the bid continues to be pursued by the city, Calgarians will know if they’ll be in the international spotlight by September 2019, when the IOC makes its final decision.