Calgary Olympic Bid Corp. sees long-term housing benefits to hosting 2016 Games

CALGARY — A draft plan for a potential Calgary 2026 Olympic bid says the event could create more affordable housing in a region that badly needs it and provide a welcome jolt to the provincial economy.

“Calgary has one of the lowest stocks of affordable and social housing in the country relative to the size of the city,” the Calgary 2026 bid corporation said in a report presented to city council on Tuesday, noting a shortfall of 15,000 affordable housing units.

The plan envisions spending $600 million on about 2,800 units that would temporarily house athletes and officials during the 2026 Olympic and Paralympic Games and then be turned over to long-term housing.

About 20 per cent would be at market rates, with the rest set aside for affordable housing and other non-market uses.

There is a plan for three to four new affordable housing projects that would yield at least 600 units, as well as a new 200-unit senior’s complex. It also said there could be new housing for urban Indigenous people and students.

An athletes’ village planned near the Stampede Grounds would accommodate 3,100 people during the Games.

After, that would be converted into 70 affordable, 140 attainable or near-market and 500 market units.

The hosting plan also sees Canmore — a town about an hour west of Calgary that would host biathlon and cross-country ski events — building a 1,200-bed athletes’ village that would be repurposed to more than 240 affordable housing units.

“The greatest challenge facing the Canmore municipality is community affordability and specifically access to affordable housing,” the report said.

Construction on the new housing would take place in 2024 and 2025.

The plan does not mention any new spending on public transportation in the city or mountain venues. It assumes a previously planned new rail transit link between downtown and southeast Calgary will be complete by 2026.

The bid corporation pegs the total cost of hosting the Games at $5.23 billion, of which about $3 billion would be shouldered by taxpayers at the municipal, provincial and federal levels.

But Calgary 2026 CEO Mary Moran, who is on leave from her role as head of Calgary Economic Development, said it’s important to look at the bang for the buck.

“I’ve been involved with economic development for nine years and I can tell you that there aren’t a lot of files that are coming down the pipeline that will create the number of jobs and that will have the same kind of GDP impact.”

She said it’s estimated there will be $2.2 billion in private investment and up to $1.5 billion in federal cash that would never flow without the Olympics, as well as a $2 billion lift to Alberta’s gross domestic product as a direct result of the games and $200 million in tax revenues.

Moran figures a bid could create roughly 2,200 jobs.

“They’re not full time. They could last for seven years. They could last for five years,” she said.

There’s also the benefit of new and refurbished sports venues that would be used in the future. Eight existing venues — several from the 1988 Olympics and the ski jump in Whistler, B.C., built for the Games — are part of the plan. It calls for two new builds: a new fieldhouse and a mid-sized arena.

Moran cited less tangible benefits like the boost to Calgary’s profile on the world stage.

“If you look in the case of Vancouver, they had about $1 billion worth of advertising value during the Games, which would be hard for the civic partners in this community to achieve without a big international, well-televised global event like this.”

Lauren Krugel, The Canadian Press

Just Posted

128 Flags of Remembrance now flying in Sylvan Lake until Nov. 12

Centennial Park boasts 128 Canadian flags to honour 128,000 Canadians killed and missing in action.

Fall Food Drive set for Saturday in Red Deer

Organized by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Red Deer is counting down to CFR 45

Jointly hosted by Red Deer & District Chamber of Commerce and Westerner Park

Mirror fire department still short volunteers

Fire department will close if volunteers can’t be found

Emazing Bike tour hits Red Deer

Cross-Canada electric bike tour to break world record

Live bear cam: Let the fishing begin

Watch bears in Alaska’s Katmai National Park catch their dinner live.

Flyers new mascot ‘Gritty’ a bearded, googly-eyed terror

PHILADELPHIA — The Philadelphia Flyers unveiled their new mascot Monday, and as… Continue reading

Tiger Woods winning adds to Ryder Cup buzz

SAINT-QUENTIN-EN-YVELINES, France — Already the most intense competition in golf, the Ryder… Continue reading

Ex-Sabres captain Brian Gionta retires after 16 NHL seasons

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Brian Gionta has retired after 16 NHL seasons, two… Continue reading

Curling season kicks off after massive shake-up of multiple men’s teams

With so many top Canadian men’s curling teams opening this season with… Continue reading

Canada has removed six out of 900 asylum seekers already facing U.S. deportation

OTTAWA — Newly released figures show Canadian officials have removed only a… Continue reading

Texas prisons often deny dentures to inmates with no teeth

HOUSTON — Inmates without teeth in Texas are routinely denied dentures because… Continue reading

Sex assault charge stayed against one British sailor, trial proceeds for other

HALIFAX — The Crown has stayed a sexual assault charge against a… Continue reading

Most Read