Landowners in the Bavarian ski-town of Garmisch-Partenkirchen, where half the events of the Munich 2018 Winter Olympic Games would take place, have begun collecting signatures to force a referendum on whether the town will support Munich’s bid for the 2018 Winter Olympic Games.
The “Nolympia” initiative reportedly has to collect 1,700 signatures in the town of 26,000. About 3,000 residents signed an informal list last summer calling for the referendum.
Olympic organizers want to lease land from private owners in Garmisch-Partenkirchen for the 2018 Games and some residents believe that leasing their land would jeopardize the financial and environmental stability of their town, reports dw-world.de.
Axel Doering, one of the initiators of the referendum said, “the Winter Olympics are too large for Garmisch-Partenkirchen”.
Bernhard Schwank, CEO of Munich 2018, told ZDF television, “even if the handful of landowners who are involved in our plans decide not to cooperate, we can guarantee the availability of the areas we need”.
The Munich 2018 bid committee has issued the following statement reacting to the referendum:
“We are convinced that the overwhelming majority of the population is behind the bid and opinion polls corroborate this. Our latest regional polls indicated that almost two thirds of people in Garmisch-Partenkirchen are in favour of hosting the 2018 Winter Games.
“Referenda are an important political instrument in any open and sophisticated democracy like Germany. There was a referendum organised during the IOC Evaluation Commission’s visit to Vancouver and they went on to stage a memorable Winter Games with the full backing of millions of passionate fans.”
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) Evaluation Commission will be in Munich March 1 to 4 to inspect the city’s bid.