Hamilton poised to relaunch 2030 Commonwealth Games bid as a ‘movement’

Hamilton is ready to move its 2030 Commonwealth Games bid on to the international stage next month and organizers say the path to potentially hosting the 100th anniversary event will be a ‘movement’.

Artist rendering of Tim Hortons Field, proposed venue for the Hamilton 2026 Commonwealth Games Opening Ceremonies

Artist rendering of Tim Hortons Field, proposed venue for the Hamilton 2026 Commonwealth Games Opening Ceremonie (Hamilton 2026 Image)

Bid Chair Lou Frapporti, speaking on CHML Good Morning Hamilton radio Monday, said his bid group will deliver a more meaningful and sustainable project than what was originally proposed two years ago when the Hamilton 100 bid was first discussed.

“What it looks like now it quite dissimilar from what it looks like as we began the process and then began discussions around the potential 2026 bid,” Frapporti said about the Canadian city’s quest to host the Games a century after they were launched in Hamilton as the British Empire Games.

“We wanted to move away from the concept of a bid being something that happens 10 years from now and turn it into more of a movement.”

Last year Hamilton shifted focus from a 2030 bid to 2026 at the request of Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) when no other cities stepped forward to host.  But the Ontario city was forced to abandon the exclusive opportunity when the province denied its support due to concerns from the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and a conflict with the 2026 FIFA World Cup that will likely have matches staged in nearby Toronto.  Hamilton has now reorganized to again target 2030, a more meaningful project that will celebrate the Games’ special milestone.

Frapporti explained that his bid will begin to engage with the public and look for community feedback starting in October, and the intention is to shift most of the financial burden to the private sector and away from taxpayers.

“The movement is something that, I think, has very broad community acceptance – about promoting sustainability and wellness, in a variety of different ways with partners,” he said.

“We want to build assets in the region that are viable from a financial perspective and are constructed and financed in a way that is reasonable.”

The intention is to align the development of  large infrastructure projects already planned in Hamilton with the needs of the Games.

“Generally speaking [the Games] are problematic because they cost too much taxpayers money.  They’re focused on an event rather than a community and we wanted to turn that upside down.”

The bid committee will begin to share more information with stakeholders as part of a ‘concept review process’ and then work with these groups to finalize a ‘multi-party agreement’, the legal document that lays out the roles and responsibilities for organizing the Games.

Hamilton 2030 Commonwealth Games Bid

With the launch of a new website next month, the public consultation will begin to create a better understanding of the needs of the communities and region with respect to development projects and sustainability.

The finalized bid proposal will be submitted to the CGF in the early part of next year as part of the process that Frapporti believes will continue into 2023.

Hamilton’s realignment with 2030 will be a disappointment for the CGF as the governing body desperately seeks a host for the 2026 Games while time is running out.

There has only been tepid interest in hosting the Commonwealth Games in 2026 and 2030, with early prospective bids coming from Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Australia and Victoria in Canada.  The CGF’ struggles to site the Games began when Durban in South Africa was stripped of the 2022 edition after failing to meet financial commitments.  Birmingham, the English city that had been bidding to host in 2026 instead stepped into the 2022 role on short notice.

The 2026 bid process that was to be completed in 2019 missed its deadline after no new viable candidates were found and the emergence of the pandemic further slowed efforts to find a host.  Those Games are now at risk with less than five years to go before the opening ceremony.

On Sunday Perth’s mayor said that his city in Australia would be willing to stage the Games, but the state government has already denied support for such a project making the proposed bid a non-starter.

For 2030, Hamilton could expect to face international rivals as governments look for ways to recover from the pandemic recession.

Canada has hosted the Commonwealth Games four times – most recently in Victoria, British Columbia in 1994.

About Robert Livingstone

A senior producer and award-winning journalist covering Olympic bid business as founder of GamesBids.com as well as providing freelance support for print and Web publications around the world. Robert Livingstone is a member of the Olympic Journalists Association and the International Society of Olympic Historians.