Calgary’s bid to host the 2026 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games will become a lot clearer on September 10, the City revealed during an assessment committee meeting Tuesday. On that day organizers plan to release the Games concept plan to the public that will include information about venues, costs, sustainability, legacy impacts and other details.
What won’t be provided, according to officials, are details around cost sharing arrangements among government stakeholders. Funding participation by the federal and provincial governments has been a point of contention as the parties struggle to strike an agreement.
The assessment committee, including Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi who has been critical of the other levels of government on their participation, discussed the cost sharing and budgetary issues behind closed doors Tuesday
City Council will have access to the documents starting September 4, and will engage in a final “exit ramp” vote on September 10 before Calgarians get their chance to weigh in on the bid during a plebiscite scheduled November 13.
If either of these votes fail, Calgary’s Olympic bid will end.
Earlier this month the Government of Alberta agreed to provide CAD $2 million to fund the plebiscite.
City Councillors continued to express their frustrations with the delays, despite attending Tuesday’s special meeting during summer break. Councillor Peter Demong questioned the feasibility of expecting Calgarians to have what should be a six-month conversation about the bid in just two months before the plebiscite.
Councillor Druh Farrell took to Twitter to express her disdain, she tweeted “off-ramp vote will come BEFORE critical cost sharing information is available? That makes no sense. September 10 off-ramp date was chosen specifically by [Calgary City Council] because that’s when the cost sharing was to be made available.”
A request for proposal (RFP) process to find vendors to help coordinate a public engagement program is underway and will close August 27. The public engagement is expected to begin in September.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) will create a shortlist of qualified candidates in October from among Calgary, Stockholm, Sapporo in Japan, Erzurum in Turkey and a joint bid from Italy. Bid books are due in January, along with several guarantees.
The IOC will elect the 2026 host city in September 2019 at its all members session.