A bid to host the 2022 Commonwealth Games by Victoria is over after the British Columbia government decided against funding the project proposed by its capital city.
Victoria 2022 Chief David Black told CTV News Thursday that without a provincial funding commitment, Canada’s only potential entry into the 2022 race must end
“The dream is over,” Black said. “We cannot continue without the province’s support. I think we are missing a huge opportunity.”
B.C. Finance Minister Carole James said “We have analyzed the bid committee’s work and see that too many details remain unknown to fully understand the costs, obligations and risks associated with hosting such a large-scale event.”
The B.C. government is also facing the unprecedented cost of one of the worst wildfire seasons in history.
James’ remarks come just days after the bid outlined a (CDN) $955 million plan to host the Games that would provide the city with three new venues including an arena, track and field stadium and pool. Other existing venues were to be upgraded and a University housing project was to be leveraged for an Olympic Village.
The bid asked the province for $400 million in funding with an additional $400 million to come from the federal government, but with the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) running a fast-forward bid process there hasn’t been enough time to fully vet plans. Black admitted last week that he would have needed an extension to the September 30 bid document deadline set by the CGF.
The CGF hastily arranged a new bid process with a tight time frame after the body stripped Durban, South Africa of the Games earlier in the year for missing key financial milestones. With Victoria out of the race it now seems certain that the Games will return to Britain in either Liverpool or Birmingham, two cities that had already been preparing for a 2026 Games bid before the 2022 window re-opened.
Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia, the other remaining city in the race, is also struggling to meet the tight timelines and could follow Victoria to the exit. That means a selection by British sport authorities in September to nominate either Liverpool or Birmingham could also be the choice of the 2022 Commonwealth Games host. The CGF is expected to inspect documents and watch bid presentations in October before electing a winning city in December.
Toronto in Canada had also been considering a bid to host the Games but dropped out of the running earlier in the year after a City Council group recommended against hosting due to high costs a numerous unknowns. Four bids in Australia had also expressed interest in bidding but with the 2018 Games being staged in Gold Coast, it is believed those cities would only move forward if no other cities could be found,
The fatal news coincided with the release of a new video by the bid featuring Canadian Olympians expressing their support for the project. Victoria last hosted the Games in 1994.
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.