Reporting From Toronto, Canada – During a regularly scheduled meeting between Toronto Mayor John Tory and Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne, discussions about a potential bid for the Olympic Games eluded any definite conclusions.
“I can only say that I continue to be involved in a very intensive collection of both information and opinions that will allow me to make a considered decision about sending a letter or not,” Toronto Mayor John Tory said during a press conference following the meeting.
“Let’s be clear of what it is, it’s a letter that says we have an interest in bidding.”
“Then the really hard work begins, after that of putting together the bid if you’ve said you have the interest , where you actually have to get the governments to sign on the dotted line.
“If you’ve concluded that you don’t have an interest because its not possible or practical there isn’t support for it or then you wouldn’t send a letter in.”
“That’s the decision we’re trying to make between now and the 15th of September, in fact we have to make it.
“Other cities are quite far advanced from that so they’re in a different position.”
Notionally, it seems Tory is using this interpretation of the letter to buy more time and leave the window open while the details are worked out.
This is not an unusual strategy – Hamburg’s bid, though declared months ago, must stand the test of a November binding public referendum that would instantly kill the campaign if lost.
Along with the letter of interest, the IOC requires a $50 thousand (USD) fee that the Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) has offered to pay on the city’s behalf.
Should Toronto bid for the 2024 Olympic Games?
- Yes (50%)
- No (47%)
- Not Sure (4%)
Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne spoke about the success of the recent Pan American Games in Toronto and said “it’s that enthusiasm that has led us to even even be having a conversation about an Olympic bid.”
Toronto City Council originally rejected a bid for the 2024 Olympic Games last year but interest was renewed when a new mayor was elected and the city successfully hosted the 2015 Pan Am Games.
But with just days left to make a decision, Wynne said “I don’t think people at this point have enough information about what it would mean and that’s the conversation John [Tory] and I had. There are a lot of questions and if we still have questions then I think the general public would also have questions.”
While recent polls have shown positive support for a Games bids and small opposition groups have developed – few details are available for any side to leverage an opinion.
“There is a certain degree of support for the notion out there but it’s often conditional upon ‘well what about the infrastructure that you would get or not get; what is the cost and who would bear the costs….,'” Tory said
Wynn avoided a question from a reporter regarding guarantees for cost over runs, saying that there was not enough information about costs yet. But Boston’s declared bid for the Games was abandoned weeks ago when the city’s mayor refused to use taxpayer’s dollars to guarantee the Games, and Los Angeles’s City Council is still assessing that possibility. The IOC host city agreement that must be signed by the city’s mayor when the bid is won includes a stipulation that the city must financially guarantee the Games.
Time pressure is a major factor in the decision and both the Mayor and Premier said they are working with a compressed timeline that was brought on by the popularity of the Pan Am Games and the complex array of information that needs to be processes to determine whether a Games would work for the city. With the deadline a week away, no further decision timeline was given.
Tory said “we are doing the best we can to get all of the information that is factual in nature based on past history and present circumstances and at the same time collecting opinions from people.”
“I don’t apologize for a second that we’re a bit behind on that because nobody had really been pursuing this until quite recently.”
Budapest, Hamburg, Los Angeles, Paris and Rome have already declared bids for the Games and the IOC will elect a winner in September 2017 at a meeting in Lima, Peru.