Potential Vancouver 2030 Olympic bid to take big step forward on Friday

Dec 10 2021, 3:38 am

Nearly two years after former VANOC CEO John Furlong first ignited the idea of Vancouver bidding to host the 2030 Olympic Winter Games, the very possibility is now set to take its first major formal step forward.

On Friday afternoon, the City of Vancouver and Resort Municipality of Whistler will join the Four Host First Nations from Vancouver 2010 to make an announcement on the “exploration of a potential historic sporting partnership,” according to a pre-event media advisory issued Thursday.

The local leaders slated to speak at the press conference at BC Place Stadium include Vancouver mayor Kennedy Stewart, Whistler mayor Jack Crompton, Lilwat Nation chief Dean Nelson, Musqueam Indian Band chief Wayne Sparrow, Squamish Nation councillor Wilson Williams, and Tsleil-Waututh Nation chief Jen Thomas.

Sources tell Daily Hive Urbanized the announcement involves the signing of a memorandum of understanding to establish an exploration committee to examine the feasibility of staging a repeat Winter Games performance in 2030.

An exploration committee is the key step before efforts transition to a new bid committee for a real competitive pitch to the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

Local First Nations are expected to have an integral role in the Vancouver bid. In November 2020 during a Greater Vancouver Board of Trade (GVBOT) event, Stewart said his support for 2030 would be contingent on First Nations having a leadership role in the bid.

Crompton has also shown an interest in a potential bid, given the affordable housing legacies Whistler gained from its 2010 Athletes Village.

“If done correctly and if the goal is to deliver again as we did before, 2030 could deeply benefit our community, and I think other communities could be considering it,” said Whistler Mayor Jack Crompton during a GVBOT event in April 2021.

“We went after employee housing, we got employee housing, and we held on to employee housing.”

It has been suggested the 2030 Games could provide opportunities to build new affordable housing, such as from the post-Games legacy of a new Athletes Village. The Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh are already driving the largest residential developments in Metro Vancouver, and such projects could serve an enhanced double purpose for the Olympics.

As well, the 2030 Games could accelerate the delivery of transportation infrastructure projects such as SkyTrain extensions to UBC and the North Shore, and provide a much-needed economic and tourism boost following the years-long fallout from the pandemic.

During the April 2021 GVBOT event, Indigenous Tourism BC chair and Osoyoos Indian Band member Brenda Baptiste credited the 2010 Games for establishing a new baseline for Indigenous relations in BC communities, and catalyzing an Indigenous tourism sector.

“What we did with the 2010 Olympics was amazing,” said Baptiste. “The Four Host First Nations were such inspiring leaders of that movement, and it truly was a movement that changed the way Indigenous people worked with not only the Olympics, which had never been done before, but also with municipalities, creating so many opportunities on so many levels for our youth, elders, and that cultural representation that was so incredible. There were also economic and business development opportunities, and a growth in Indigenous tourism.”

Hosting the 2030 Games in Metro Vancouver and Whistler could also carry relatively low capital costs compared to past host cities, as the sports venue infrastructure built for the 2010 Games is still in good condition and can largely be reused.

Early this year, the Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) indicated it was seriously considering the feasibility of a 2030 bid by Vancouver, but its attention and resources would, for the time being, remain largely focused on safely preparing athletes participating in the Tokyo Summer Games and the Beijing Winter Games, under ongoing pandemic conditions. At the time, the COC stated it would ramp up its Vancouver 2030 bid planning work after the Tokyo Games at the earliest. Any Vancouver bid to the IOC requires domestic approval by the COC, which will determine and lead the overarching process for Canada’s bid.

The IOC is also expected to begin their process of seeking a host city for the 2030 Games over the coming weeks and months, with its efforts greatly accelerating after the conclusion of the Beijing Games in February 2022. Over the past decade, the IOC has made a number of major reforms that simplify the bidding process to significantly reduce bid committee costs, and provide host cities with greater flexibility in their venue plans — allowing hosts to spread out their Games plans and reuse venues and facilities wherever they exist.

Daily Hive Urbanized will have more coverage following Friday’s announcement.

Kenneth ChanKenneth Chan

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