First Nations and COC aiming to keep Vancouver 2030 Olympic bid alive

Nov 25 2022, 8:18 pm

Proponents of the first-ever Indigenous-led Olympics are hoping the Government of British Columbia will come back to the table on the potential Vancouver 2030 Winter Games bid.

In late October, BC tourism minister Lisa Beare suddenly announced the provincial government will not support the bid due to growing cost pressures, the BC NDP’s new leadership’s priorities on tackling housing affordability and healthcare worker shortage issues, and the preoccupation with organizing Vancouver’s role as a host city for the 2026 FIFA World Cup.

Reiterating the initial reactions to the rejection, in a joint letter this week, the Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) president Tricia Smith and Canadian Paralympic Committee president Marc-Andre Fabien sent an “open letter to the elected officials of British Columbia” to outline their case for reconsideration.

They maintain the news was a complete surprise to all those involved in developing the bid and that the provincial government’s decision to reject the bid was based on high-level assumptions without meaningful dialogue. It is asserted the provincial government did not engage with the First Nations and COC in detailed discussions on what would be needed to host the Games in 2030 and what could be done differently compared to 2010.

“With the feasibility work completed and a draft proposal submitted, we expected the next step to be a face-to-face meeting with all parties to discuss the costs and benefits, priorities, and possibilities. The BC government has not yet given any of the parties, despite attempts by us and the Nations, an opportunity to have this discussion,” reads the letter shared with Daily Hive Urbanized.

“Know, however, that we are only interested in moving ahead with this project if it makes sense to do so, with the benefits outweighing the costs. This project needs to be about practical realities and challenges. It also needs to be about a vision for our country. To make that determination requires a full review and dialogue with all parties at the table. A unique project of this nature, led by the potential Host First Nations, deserves a deeper look.”

Proponents have long stated that the second Winter Olympics in BC would largely reuse and extend the legacies of sports venues used in 2010. They also believe the 2030 Games would require reduced government investment compared to 2010 under the strategy of reusing and optimizing existing facilities and infrastructure and tapping into private funding from both domestic sponsors and the International Olympic Committee (IOC). This could also be a highly green Games, going to lengths to be “carbon neutral” and provide much-needed affordable housing as a post-Games legacy.

If the Indigenous-led bid were to proceed and succeed, it would evolve into an Indigenous-led Games, providing a new tool — both cultural and economic — for reconciliation. In response to the provincial government’s rejection early this month, the leaders of the Four First Nations involved in the bid effort — Musqueam, Squamish, Tsleil-Waututh, and Lil’ Wat — expressed dismay and asserted the move was an affront to reconciliation.

Daily Hive Urbanized has also learned that the COC met this week with the IOC’s future host commission to determine the 2030 host city and updated them on the status of the Vancouver bid — that they told the IOC they remain hopeful of restarting discussions with the provincial government.

According to the COC, over the past year, the bid proponents have conducted extensive work on advancing the bid, including detailed budgets, concept approvals, economic impact reports, security plans, venue use agreement negotiations, and securing over 9,000 hotel rooms to date.

“We invite the Province, under the leadership of its new premier, David Eby, to sit down with all parties and fully explore the potential of this project — together,” reads the open letter.

There is some precedent for the provincial government in changing its decision, as it previously made a complete 180-degree turn on its position with hosting the 2026 FIFA World Cup.

In March 2018, Beare announced the provincial government would not support the bid to host the tournament in Vancouver, even though zero commitments were needed until 2021/2022 — when FIFA would finalize the host cities based on a shortlist of bid cities, which was accomplished in June 2022.

Over the years, critics of the original decision on the World Cup have said the then-new provincial government rushed its decision and was not fully informed. The possibility of the World Cup being held in Vancouver was rekindled in Summer 2021 when Premier John Horgan stated FIFA’s terms were more amiable than previously anticipated, which had the ripple effect of restarting negotiations.

The IOC is expected to decide on the 2030 host city during its IOC Session in September or October 2023.

Other cities in the running for 2030 include the 1972 Winter Games host city, Sapporo, Japan, and the 2002 Winter Games host city Salt Lake City, Utah.

Want to stay in the loop with more Daily Hive content and News in your area? Check out all of our Newsletters here.
Buzz Connected Media Inc. #400 – 1008 Homer Street, Vancouver, B.C. V6B 2X1 [email protected] View Rules
Kenneth ChanKenneth Chan

+ News
+ Politics
+ Offside
+ Olympics
+ Urbanized