Alberta premier wants evidence of benefits of Calgary winter Olympics in 2026
Rachel Notley, the premier of Alberta, the Canadian province in which Calgary is situated, has said that she needs to see evidence of genuine benefits for the province before deciding whether to give the go-ahead to a proposed bid for the city to host the 2026 winter Olympic Games.
Speaking on the sidelines of the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association annual convention yesterday, Notley told reporters: “What we’re planning on doing is reviewing all the information on it.
“There’s a lot of documentation and a lot of conflicting opinion, and I think that we owe it to taxpayers to think very hard about the economic benefits, to make sure they are significant and real.”
Earlier this week, a crucial city council funding vote went in favour of the bid, meaning that officials can continue to explore the feasibility of the bid goals, albeit only C$1 million ($781,000) of the required C$2 million will be available initially.
The second C$1 million is conditional on the federal and provincial governments saying how much they are willing to contribute to the bid.
Meanwhile, Kent Hehr, the federal sport minister, said in a statement that the national government is always happy to see communities interested in hosting international competitions, adding: “Our government looks forward to reviewing the business case put forward by the City of Calgary, as we need to first review the numbers before moving forward in a responsible manner.”
The council will consider the issue again before Christmas, ahead of a deadline to enter the International Olympic Committee’s so-called dialogue phase of 31 March, 2018.
The Calgary Bid Exploration Committee reported at the end of October that a bid is feasible, having spent C$3.5 million on a study, but demanded clarity over which levels of government would be responsible for financing various elements of the games, including capital, security and operating costs, along with the financial guarantee demanded by the IOC.
Hosting the games would cost C$4.6 billion, it has been estimated.
Other possible bidders include Sion in Switzerland, the Telemark region in Norway, cities in USA, Turkey and Kazakhstan, Stockholm in Sweden and Sapporo in Japan.