Victoria, the Capital of Canadian province British Columbia says it will submit a bid to host the 2022 Commonwealth Games, replacing the city of Durban after it was stripped of the Games earlier this year.
The announcement was made by bid committee member and two-time Commonwealth Games swimmer and triathlete Suzanne Weckend, and bid Chair and publishing mogul David Black.
“We think we have a pretty good shot here … it’s Canada’s turn,” Black said Wednesday during the formal announcement at his home.
“The games have doubled in size and we think we have some creative ways to deliver the facilities that are required for a high-performance, multi-sport event,” Weckend, who competed in the 1994 Games that were held for the last time in Canada in Victoria, told the Times Colonist.
Last month a delegation from the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) visited Victoria to discuss the opportunity, and they also stopped by Toronto, the other Canadian city that had expressed interest in bidding. But with Toronto’s Economic Development Committee recommending against its City’s bid, it is likely Victoria will be endorsed by the Commonwealth Games Association of Canada (CGAC).
Birmingham and Liverpool in Britain who are also pushing for the 2022 Games have risen as favorites in the race as both cities had already been preparing to bid for the 2026 Games and there are already plans and organizations in place for the task.
Adelaide, Perth, Sydney and Melbourne in Australia and Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia are also interested in bidding for the Games.
Victoria sent a letter of support signed by most of the region’s mayors, and the British Columbia Liberal party included the Games in their election platform.
“We have a lot of facilities in place, which we think reduces the capital costs,” Black said, who was also chair of the committee that won the 1994 bid to host the Games.
He said the much of funding for the Games would come from the Federal and Provincial governments, and more from from advertising, sponsorship and sales. Toronto said it had yet to receive any commitment from the same Federal government, citing that as one of the reasons it wasn’t interested in moving forward.
Black held back proposed budget figures to maintain a competitive advantage over international rivals but he indicated the costs would be easy on taxpayers and less than what the current Games, being organized in Australia’s Gold coast in 2018, are expected to be.
“But the legacy for Victoria will be tremendous, much higher than the last time around [in 1994],” he told the Times Colonist.
Organizers plan to work with the University of Victoria to add new student accommodations that can be used to house athletes during the Games and an additional (CAD) $80 million will be spent to build needed low-cost housing downtown that would first accommodate Games staff and officials.
About $80 million would be needed to build out athletic sites.
The CGAC said it will nominate a Canadian city in July and The CGF expects to see applications in August. The host city will be chosen by the CGF in the fall.