The 2030 Olympic bid could be in trouble

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The report to city council cites time, staff and resource constraints, and a lack of detail.

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There is not enough time for Vancouver to negotiate what is needed for a formal bid to the International Olympic Committee on the 2030 Winter Olympics, according to a staff report see you at city council next week.

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“Council would need to have a clear understanding of the proposed funding, operating, compensation and governance models for the proposed B.C. bid,” Deputy City Manager Karen Levitt wrote in the report. “None of these are currently in place.”

“At the time of this report,” Levitt wrote, “staff are unable to provide a definitive recommendation.”

But Chris Dornan, of the Own the Podium bidding group, said in a statement that he believed it was possible to move through the stages of the bidding process if the various municipalities and First Nations involved agreed to proceed.

A formal offer must be submitted to the International Olympic Committee by February, according to the report. By contrast, Levitt notes that the Vancouver 2010 Bid Corp., a nonprofit organization tasked with organizing the 2010 Winter Olympics bid, had about six years to prepare.

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The IOC plans to name the host city when it meets in Mumbai in May. Salt Lake City and Sapporo, Japan are also considering deals.

Vancouver’s partners in the bid – which includes the Resort Municipality of Whistler and the Musqueam, Squamish, Tsleil-Waututh and Lil’wat First Nations – have not officially announced whether they support the bid. A report on the 2030 bid will be presented to Whistler Council on July 19, according to Whistler communications manager Penny Lafrance.

According to the website of the Exploratory Assembly of Host Nationstasked with exploring the possibility of hosting the 2030 Olympics, the group is currently in the consultation phase, which runs until November.

Levitt’s report said a formal announcement from that organization was “the first step in determining whether all parties would collectively advance an offer from British Columbia.”

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“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,” wrote Chris Dornan of the 2030 Feasibility Team. in a press release.

According to the report, Vancouver could be “exposed to unlimited financial risk” because neither the federal nor the provincial government has yet agreed to fund the games or protect the city from potential financial loss.

“The eight First Nations and local governments should not assume that the province will be responsible for any service costs and/or risks they may incur,” the Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture and Sport wrote. of British Columbia, Melanie Mark, in a June letter to the Canadian Olympic Committee.

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Federal government policy for international sporting events limits contributions to 35% of total event costs and 50% of public sector contributions.

“The absence of a clear senior government commitment to indemnify the event represents a material difference in the context of Vancouver, compared to the 2010 Games,” Levitt wrote in the report. “Given the magnitude of the potential liability, it would not be possible for the city to become the host city of the 2030 Winter Games without being duly compensated.”

The city’s staffing levels were another concern raised by Levitt, who said there were “substantial concerns” about the city’s ability to host an Olympic event without “significant investments” in staffing.

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Vancouver is already set to host several major sporting events in the years leading up to the 2030 Olympics, including the 2023 Laver Cup tennis tournament, the 2025 Invictus Games and the 2026 FIFA World Cup. There are also a number of development projects important local areas, including the development of Senakw, the Vancouver and Broadway development plans and Broadway Subway extension.

“City staff are currently facing an unprecedented workload,” Levitt wrote. “The city organization does not currently have the capacity to take on the planning and preparation for the 2030 Winter Games.”

The report also noted that most of the financial benefits from hosting more Winter Olympics would go to the federal and provincial governments, in the form of sales taxes, although it noted that private companies – especially in the tourism and hospitality industry, which were hard-hit during the pandemic – would likely benefit from the Games.

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