Vancouver City Councillor Melissa De Genova has prepared a motion to be raised at a council meeting Tuesday (March 10) that if passed, could signal the start of a bid to host the city’s second Olympic Winter Games in 20 years.
If approved, the motion empowers Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart to reach out to potential partners and stakeholders in order to gauge support for a Vancouver 2030 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.
The Mayor has already signaled his support for a bid but said he would only move forward with the backing of his constituents.
He said “the very first thing that would need to happen, however, is that residents of Vancouver get to express their support through a referendum much like the first bid.”
In 2003 then Vancouver Mayor Larry Campbell fulfilled a campaign promise and called for a non-binding plebiscite on his city’s 2010 Winter Games bid that won 64 percent approval from voters.
The Games were considered successful both domestically and internationally, and with significant interest in pursuing the future edition it is believed a public vote would again be successful.
In 2018 voters in Calgary, Canada overturned the City’s 2026 bid when 56.4 percent in a plebiscite rejected plans.
The approved motion would allow Mayor Stewart to, on behalf of city council, reach out to the Canadian Olympic Committee (COC), Canadian Paralympic Committee (CPC) and four First Nations for their input and guidance on a potential bid. Kennedy would also engage with British Columbia Premier John Horgan and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to seek funding for a possible competitive bid, and further commitments to fund any necessary infrastructure projects should the city be awarded the Games.
The Canadian city of Hamilton in Ontario will learn by March 31 if it will bid for the 2030 Centennial edition of the Commonwealth Games which could create a domestic battle for limited national funding.
If the Mayor receives positive feedback from government partners, city staff will explore a possible bid and report details back to council, including any considerations for a referendum.
According to a PricewaterhouseCoopers report looking at the impact prior to the  games, “between 2003 and 2008, 20,780 jobs were produced in BC and another 1,750 jobs across Canada through interprovincial trade; more than 800 new business were created as a result of incremental economic growth stimulated by the Games; and the Games also generated between $70.2 million and $91.9 million in federal tax revenues and as much as $1.05 billion in real GDP.” – excerpt from Councillor De Genova motion for Council consideration on March 10, 2020
Last month on the sidelines of 10th anniversary celebrations commemorating the successful 2010 Winter Games, former organizing committee CEO John Furlong challenged the city to pursue another Games. To further spark interest, Furlong Chaired rail tour company Rocky Mountaineer pledged CAD $100,000 (USD $75,000) towards a bid.
In January the International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced that Barcelona, Salt Lake City and Sapporo had discussed interest in bidding for the 2030 Games. More recently a newly formed Salt Lake City bid group hinted its bid could be for the 2034 Games instead and the Japanese Olympic Committee (JOC) confirmed that Sapporo has the national nomination to secure the 2030 edition. Barcelona is still considering its options.
All three cities have hosted the Olympic Games previously if Barcelona’s 1992 Summer Games is considered.
Looking back, #Vancouver 2010 #Olympic Games left a proud legacy. Looking forward, any possibility of a 2030 Olympic bid requires partnerships w/ 4 Host #FirstNations + senior government funding commitments. My motion asks for the info needed to make informed decision. #vanpoli https://t.co/S6tVZQg97o
— Melissa De Genova (@MelissaDeGenova) February 24, 2020
There are no set timetables or deadlines in the newly reformed Olympic bid process but IOC President Thomas Bach hinted in January that the host city could be named as early as this year. The IOC Future Host Commission is already discussing current proposals and a Vancouver bid would need to land on Commission Chair Octavian Morariu’s desk soon if it is to receive consideration.