Calgarians anticipate details on a possible 2026 Winter Games bid

CALGARY — Calgarians will get a detailed look at how the city could host the 2026 Olympic and Paralympic Games when a draft plan is presented to city council Tuesday.

Capital and operational costs, construction requirements and which sports would be held in which venues are expected to be unveiled by the bid corporation Calgary 2026.

But how much money the federal and provincial governments would contribute to hosting the games won’t be included in the presentation. Those numbers aren’t expected until October.

Councillors had made Sept. 10 both a deadline for information on the benefits, risks, opportunities and costs associated with a bid, and a potential pull-out date should they not like what they see and hear in chambers.

The deadline to submit 2026 bids to the International Olympic Committee is January. IOC members will vote for the successful host city in September 2019.

The 1988 Winter Olympics were held in Calgary and nearby Canmore, Alta. The venues from those games are the foundation of a potential 2026 bid.

A plebiscite asking Calgarians if they want to host the 2026 Winter Games is scheduled for Nov. 13, although the vote would be cancelled if council pulls the plug on a bid.

An initial estimate of $4.6 billion to host the games, with games revenues covering almost half the cost, was produced by the Calgary Bid Exploration Committee in June 2017.

The IOC has since committed US$925 million, or CDN$1.2 billion, in cash and services to the 2026 host city.

The 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver and Whistler, B.C., cost roughly $7.7 billion.

Corruption scandals and images of derelict facilities from some previous Olympic Games has decreased the desire of the world’s cities to bid for games.

The IOC adopted a series of reforms under the banner of Agenda 2020 to make bidding and hosting less expensive and more sustainable.

The ski jump in Whistler, as well as Edmonton’s sports facilities, have been discussed for possible inclusion in Calgary’s potential bid.

City reports have stated that a games could be a catalyst for the construction of affordable housing in the city.

Other cities mulling a possible 2026 bid include Stockholm, Sweden, Sapporo, Japan, Erzurum, Turkey and a joint Italian bid involving Turin, Milan and Cortina.

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