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Canadian Olympic Committee sees ‘ample time’ for 2030 bid as BC cities discuss doubts

Report by the Vancouver city manager says proposed timeline for the bid is ‘not achievable’
Tricia Smith, President of the Canadian Olympic Committee, takes part in a joint press conference between the Canadian Olympic Committee, the Four Host First Nations, and the cities of Vancouver and Whistler where the “hosting concept” for the 2030 Winter Olympics bid was unveiled in Whistler, B.C., on Tuesday, June 14, 2022. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff Vinnick

The path for B.C. to host another Winter Olympic Games remains uncertain as cities voice concern about its feasibility.

Whistler and Vancouver city councils are both scheduled to meet to discuss the tight timeline and lack of financial details related to the Canadian Olympic Committee’s bid proposal.

A report by the Vancouver city manager said the proposed timeline for the bid is “not achievable.”

“It is staff’s view that there is insufficient time for the requisite work to be done by staff to evaluate the potential benefits, costs and risks to the city, and to negotiate the necessary legal agreements by the (Canadian Olympic Committee’s) deadline of December 2022,” it said.

The committee disagrees, saying in a statement that there is “ample time for funding partners to complete cost-benefit analyses of the 2030 project.”

The Canadian Olympic Committee announced earlier this month that estimated hosting costs would total up to $4 billion, coming from a mix of public and private funds. It said the province has not ruled out a contribution for 2030 but has cautioned that it should not be assumed.

Vancouver Coun. Colleen Hardwick said she now intends to bring back a motion to council proposing the bid be added to the ballot during the municipal election in October.

“It’s clear from the report to city council that we have a $4 billion 2030 Olympic bid proposal that is full of red flags, which reinforces just how important it is for Vancouverites to have their say,” Hardwick said.

She said lack of financial commitments from federal and provincial governments will mean “huge liabilities for taxpayers.”

“The people of Vancouver are being asked to sign a very big blank cheque that could mean huge tax increases, without having any say on whether or not to proceed. If the 2030 bid is as impressive as its supporters say, then let it come in front of the voters to see how they feel about it,” Hardwick said.

Tricia Smith, the president of the Canadian Olympic Committee, said in the statement that the experience gained from the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver and Whistler will help provide a blueprint for organizers.

“We value and appreciate the concerns raised by municipal staff in Vancouver, and believe the report highlights the work that now needs to be done as well as the need to work efficiently together to meet national and international timelines,” she said.

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