A small majority of respondents to a survey taken across British Columbia support a bid to host a second Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games in Vancouver in 2030.
According to a newly-released independent poll by Insights West, 55 percent across the Canadian province would support a new bid for the Games. Support skyrockets to 77 percent if the project is privately funded, a model suggested by former Vancouver 2010 Chief John Furlong who is now promoting the possible 2030 edition.
“Support for the 2030 Winter Olympic Bid in British Columbia is highly contingent on the amount of public money that would need to go into support the bid process and host the games” Insights West President Steve Mossop said in a statement.
“Early polling suggests that despite being in the middle of a pandemic, there is public support, and that British Columbians are aware of the social and economic benefits of hosting Olympic Games.
Support is divided between 24 percent who ‘strongly support’ the project and a further 31 percent who ‘somewhat support’ the bid.
Opposition is also split between those who ‘somewhat oppose’ (19 percent) versus ‘strongly oppose’ the bid (26 percent).
Total support for a privately funded Olympics jumps to 77 percent, split between those who ‘strongly support’ the bid (43 percent) and who ‘somewhat support’ the bid (34 percent), and opposition drops to 23 percent (‘somewhat oppose’ at 12 percent, and ‘strongly oppose’ at 10 percent).
The poll was conducted online from April 28 to 30 among 883 British Columbia residents and has a margin of error of +/- 3.3 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.
Furlong first talked up a 2030 bid in February 2020 on the 10th anniversary of the Vancouver Games. A motion to examine a bid was later made to Vancouver City council and it was ultimately decided by councilors that any new project would have a regional scope and would have to be brought forward by the Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) along with regional, provincial, federal and First Nations partners.
The COC has indicated that its current focus is on supporting Canadian athletes through the pandemic and the upcoming Tokyo 2020 Games in July and Beijing 2022 Winter Games next February. The possibility of a bid is not expected to be addressed until next year.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has no set schedule for the awarding of the 2030 Games, but a dialogue has already begun behind closed doors with possible bidders including Sapporo in Japan, Pyrenees-Barcelona in Spain and Salt Lake City in the U.S. In February Brisbane in Australia was singled out as the preferred bidder and likely host of the 2032 Summer Games two years later, so the IOC will soon be shifting focus to 2030.
Last month a group in Quebec launched a separate Canadian bid campaign for 2030 but it will be up to the COC to determine which, if any, of the two bids will open a dialogue with the IOC. Hamilton in Canada is vying to host the centennial Commonwealth Games in its birthplace in 2030 and it may be against federal policy to support both major sport events in the same year.
The IOC are expected to find the polling results encouraging after several cities dropped bids over the past decade due to lost referendums or poor support – including the plebiscite-derailed Calgary 2026 bid in neighboring Alberta.
Vancouver received 64 percent support in a plebiscite held in 2003 for the 2010 Games.
“Last time around, there was early initial public hesitation to supporting the Games which increased dramatically though the years culminating in the Canadian men’s hockey gold medal game and record-breaking medal haul. BC residents have fond memories of the 2010 games, and I’m sure that is part of the reason public support is so high at this point,” Mossop said.
Respondents to the survey further believe in the purported economic benefits of a future Games including a large majority who believe hosting the Games would create valuable jobs (83 percent), provide a post-COVID-19 boost to tourism (80 percent), provide excitement about something to look forward to (78 percent), provide a boost to the economy (76 percent), and result in infrastructure that would be used for years to come (76 percent).
Support is higher among females (60 percent vs. 50 percent of males), those 18-34 (64 percent vs. 53 percent of those 35-54 years and 51 percent of those 55 years and over), and those in the City of Vancouver (60 percent vs. between 48 percent and 57 percent in other areas) compared to other groups.