Tuesday will mark a major milestone for the development of British Columbia’s potential Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games bid as the completed feasibility study is delivered to First Nations leaders.
A ceremony commemorating the event is planned to take place in Whistler with Lil̓wat7úl (Líl̓wat), xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish) and səl̓ilw̓ətaʔɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) First Nations representatives as well as partners from the City of Vancouver, Resort Municipality of Whistler, Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) and Canadian Paralympic Committee (CPC). With an initial hosting concept in hand, the partners will enter a Concept Review Phase that will allow teams to launch a community engagement program.
Later, a full project assessment will by made among the partners leading to a decision on whether to continue pursuing a bid to host the 2030 Games in British Columbia, the first ever to be indigenous-led.
The COC is already engaged in the IOC’s continuous dialogue stage of the Winter Games bid process that provides interested parties a chance to explore the hosting opportunity without any firm commitments. Among those known to be in discussions are Salt Lake City in the United Stated, Sapporo in Japan and a Barcelona and Pyrenees project from Spain.
The IOC has no set timeline for the election of the host city, but last month officials said they expect to name a final set of candidates as early as December 7 this year with a final election possible at an all-members Session scheduled for May 30 next year.
In April Vancouver City Council deflected a possible motion to hold a plebiscite over the Olympic bid when Mayor Kennedy Stewart insisted that such and action would violate a Memorandum of Understanding signed with partner First Nations. But with municipal elections coming in October and planned public engagement set to take place over the summer, the public will have a significant voice in any decision to pursue a bid. A future public vote is not yet off the table.
Salt Lake City has very strong public support with recent polls showing over 80 percent in favour of hosting a future Games. Last week the Sapporo city assembly voted against holding a referendum with the ruling party suggesting recent surveys are sufficient evidence of public support. Referendums had been planned in the Catalan region of Spain for Barcelona’s bid but they were postponed indefinitely last month after partners failed to agree on venue allocation and the project collapsed.
Sapporo has already published preliminary plans and has started public engagement in its hunt for a sequel to the Games it first hosted in 1972. Salt Lake City has recently upped its campaign efforts by partnering with Olympic champions Lindsey Vonn and Eileen Gu with a delegation expected to visit IOC headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland later this month.
A COC Feasibility Team spokesperson recently told GamesBids.com that there are currently no plans for a BC 2030 delegation to travel to Lausanne.