The Vancouver city council motion to prepare a plebiscite over the possible Vancouver 2030 Olympic and Paralympic Games bid was unexpectedly cancelled Tuesday by its originator, before any debate on the matter.
Councillor Colleen Hardwick, who has been opposed to the bid for a second Games in Vancouver, cancelled her motion that first appeared in the meeting agenda published last week. Instead she will spend the coming days discussing the issue with Vancouverites and could deliver a new, reworded motion for council consideration on April 12.
If approved, the vote was to appear on the municipal election ballot scheduled for October 15.
According to the Vancouver Sun, Hardwick was concerned she had lost councilor support for the motion, including from a seconder she claimed to have secured, after Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart pushed back on the possibility of a public vote. She feared the motion would “die on the floor.”
Hardwick’s motion drew widespread criticism for its poor optics of holding a municipal vote over an indigenous-led project aimed to represent reconciliation through sport. In December the city of Vancouver, along with other municipalities and the Canadian Olympic Committee signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with First Nations Leaders to explore the bid. The Mayor believes putting the matter to a vote and risking the city’s withdrawal from the project could violate the terms of the MOU.
Instead of moving forward with the motion, Hardwick decided to regroup and try again next month.
Vancouver is among three other regions known to be in discussions with the IOC with the aim of hosting the 2030 Games. Like Vancouver, all would be second-time hosts including Salt Lake City in United States, Sapporo in Japan and a Barcelona-anchored Pyrenees project in Spain that could position that city to be only the second to host both Winter and Summer editions of the Olympics.
There is no set timetable for election of the 2030 host city under new IOC rules. Previously cities were elected seven years ahead of the opening ceremony but last year Brisbane was elected to host the 2032 Summer Games 11 years in advance. On Monday United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee (USOPC) chair Susanne Lyons hinted that the IOC may single out a preferred candidate in the fall, and officially elect the bid during the organization’s all members session scheduled for Mumbai, India in May or June 2023.
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.