Potential Vancouver 2030 Olympics bid ‘full of red flags’


City staff report says there is not enough time to assess the benefits, costs and risks of hosting more Olympics

City of Vancouver staff recommended council put a hold on a decision on a potential bid for the 2030 Olympics because there are many unknowns largely related to the cost of preparing for and hosting other Winter Games.

A report which will be presented to council on Wednesday (July 20) raises more questions than answers regarding a potential bid led by the Musqueam, Squamish, Tsleil-Waututh and Lil’wat First Nations.

Vancouver and Whistler have signed a memorandum of understanding with the nations to consider a bid while the Canadian Olympic Committee (COC), which later signed a collaboration agreement with the group, leads the 2030 Feasibility Team.

“Because the eventual funding and compensation model for the 2030 Winter Games has yet to be determined, staff cannot, at the time of this report, provide the Board with even an estimate of the order of magnitude of the financial implications of hosting the Games,” the report said, noting that provincial and federal funding commitments and indemnities are essential elements of a 2030 Winter Games funding model.

The report says the “extremely compressed” time frame to finalize an offer does not allow enough time for staff to assess the potential benefits, costs and risks to the city, and to negotiate the necessary legal agreements before the COC deadline. from December 2022.

Staff recommended that the board wait until the feasibility team publicly announces whether it recommends moving forward with the offer, which is expected in November.

The board should also direct staff to seek clarification from the COC regarding the financial, operational, compensation and governance models of the Games “to meaningfully inform a decision by the board,” the report said.

fifa world cup

The preparation of a possible Olympic bid comes at a busy time in the city’s calendar.

An increased workload for staff was cited as an issue in the report, which noted that Vancouver will be one of the Canadian host cities for the 2026 FIFA World Cup. Vancouver will also host the international tennis tournament Laver Cup 2023, Invictus Games 2025 and potentially a future Formula E race car event.

More currently, there is considerable work to be done across many city departments to prepare for the October 2022 municipal elections and to develop the city’s operating and capital budgets for 2023.

“City staff are currently facing an unprecedented workload and, at the same time, are facing the same pandemic-related staff attraction and retention issues that are pervasive across North America and across the country. other parts of the world at this time,” the report said, adding that the city organization does not currently have the capacity to take on the planning and preparation for the Games.

“Shouldn’t Assume”

The COC has chosen November as the month it wants to hear from all levels of government, the four host nations and Adams Lake Indian Band, Little Shuswap Lake Band, Neskonlith Indian Band and Tk’emlúps te Secwepemc to find out if they support a candidacy.

Richmond, Kamloops and the Municipality of Sun Peaks Mountain Resort have also expressed interest in the 2030 Games, likely making it more difficult for the COC to achieve consensus and prepared agreements by the end of the year. .

Compounding this challenge is a June 24 letter from British Columbia Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture and Sport, Melanie Mark, to Tricia Smith, President of the Canadian Olympic Committee (COC), who also raised concerns about the costs and agreements associated with bidding for the Games.

“Given that the province has not yet made a decision regarding financial support for the 2030 Games, the eight First Nations and local governments should not assume that the province will be responsible for service costs and/or risks. they might incur,” Marc wrote.

Olympic committee responds to city report

In response to concerns from City of Vancouver staff, the COC sent an email statement on Monday, July 18 to Vancouver is awesomenoting that the staff report also recognized the potential benefits to the city of Indigenous-led Games.

These benefits, as noted in the report, include reconciliation, possible senior government investment related to public transit, affordable housing and site improvements, as well as boosting the local economy and strengthening a sense of belonging to the community through sports and cultural events, programs and programs”. legacies, and fostering inclusivity, civic engagement and pride.

“While all local councils express a desire to continue moving forward, we believe it is certainly possible to meet the relevant milestones in the national and international application processes with appropriate information available to support decision-making. informed by all parties,” the COC’s 2030 Feasibility Team said. statement said.

“The project is based on the spirit of collaboration and dialogue and on a mutual commitment to reconciliation. The values ​​of respect, inclusivity and community guide our work and, with all partners committed to exploring the vision outlined in the initial hosting concept, it is possible that the appropriate details and agreements will be finalized in a timely manner. .

The BC government has given the COC an August 15 deadline to produce a detailed response to Mark’s letter, which requests a cost-benefit analysis, the cost of security, the lasting legacies of the Games and a lengthy list of other conditions related to the reception. another Olympiad.

“Full of red flags”

Meanwhile, the con. Colleen Hardwick announced Monday that she will attempt to reintroduce a motion to hold a citywide plebiscite on whether Vancouverites want to host more Games. His first attempt was rejected in April, when no other council members seconded his motion.

“It is clear from the report to city council that we have a $4 billion Olympic bid proposal that is full of red flags, which reinforces how important it is for Vancouverites to have a say,” Hardwick said in a press release. “When city staff say there is ‘potentially unlimited financial risk’, every Vancouverite should be very scared.

For the 2010 Winter Olympics and Paralympics, the city spent about $554 million, equivalent to about $800 million in today’s dollars. This included $524 million to upgrade several community centers, including Trout Lake and Hillcrest. Another $30 million was spent on operating costs.

The total cost of the 2010 Winter Games has been estimated at between $4 billion and $8 billion.

The $4 billion cost excludes development of the Canada Line, improvements to Highway 99 in Whistler and a major expansion of the Vancouver Convention Center.

The International Olympic Committee is expected to award the 2030 Games in May or June 2023. Salt Lake City, Utah and Sapporo, Japan are other cities interested in hosting the event.

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