Whistler role in potential Calgary Olympic bid would be welcome: IOC

Calgary is mulling whether to vie for the 2026 Games, and could look to facilities in B.C.

An official with the International Olympic Committee says it would welcome a bid by Calgary to hold another Winter Games using some facilities in Whistler, B.C., or elsewhere.

Calgary is mulling whether to vie for the 2026 Games and a six-member IOC delegation is in the city this week to tour venues from the 1988 Olympics and to discuss ways to reduce the cost of holding them again.

The possibility of reusing the ski jump in Whistler from the 2010 Games has been floated as an alternative to a costly refurbishment of the outdated one at Calgary’s Canada Olympic Park or building a new one 100 kilometres west in Canmore, Alta., for upwards of $100 million.

Christophe Dubi, Olympic Games executive director, says it’s good news that the Whistler option is being considered.

“This goes exactly in the direction that we want,” he told a teleconference Wednesday.

“It doesn’t need to be a joint bid. It (would) remain Calgary, but using venues outside of Alberta. This is perfectly fine. This is encouraged.”

He said distance wouldn’t be a problem and noted that equestrian events were held in Hong Kong during the 2008 Beijing Summer Games.

READ MORE: Whistler venues could see 2026 Olympic action

READ MORE: Facelift of Calgary’s ’88 sliding track to bring change for bobsleigh team

With few cities interested in holding the Olympic Games, the IOC has made changes to make bidding and hosting cheaper and more sustainable.

“We have a little team on the ground that is doing exactly what we said we would do in this revamped canditature process, which is dialogue,” Dubi said.

Dubi, who was not on the Calgary trip, said he spoke to city councillors and Mayor Naheed Nenshi by phone earlier in the day.

IOC representatives have already visited other potential contenders — Sion, Switzerland and Stockholm — and plan to go to Sapporo, Japan just before the Games next month in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

Calgary city council voted in November to spend up to $2 million on top of $5 million already earmarked to explore a bid, but only $1 million would be released until it is known what the federal and provincial governments are willing to contribute to a bid. Council is expected to address the question again on Jan. 29.

City staff estimated a bid price tag would be between $25 million and $30 million. The cost of holding the Games has been pegged at $4.6 billion, with revenues covering about half that.

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

Dubi listed off a variety of ways that costs could be reduced for host cities: using energy more efficiently at the International Broadcast Centre, encouraging public transit, shifting some responsibilities to sports federations and ensuring venues aren’t any bigger than they need to be.

He said the IOC has said it would provide US$925 million to the successful 2026 bid city, but called that a preliminary number.

The IOC will invite cities to bid for 2026 this October and the deadline will be January 2019.

Dubi said Calgary has until the end of March to decide whether it’s interested in moving to the next phase of talks with the IOC.

Lauren Krugel, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

VIDEO: fire destroys Pitt Meadows outbuilding

Three RVs are write-offs following Saturday night blaze

B.C. families financially affected by pandemic eligible for grocery gift cards

Program open to struggling families in Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley communities

‘Each step is a prayer’: Ojibwe man will walk from Hope to Vancouver Island for Indigenous healing, reconciliation

James Taylor departs Sept. 20, returns to Saanich in five days for sacred fire

Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Sept. 20 to 26

Rabbit Day, Hobbit Day and One-Hit Wonder Day are all coming up this week

SHARE: Pre-smoke the sunset illuminated the skies in Pitt Meadows

Send us your photo showing how you view Maple Ridge or Pitt Meadows, and it could be featured soon

B.C. or Ontario? Residential school survivors fight move of court battle

It’s now up to Ontario’s Court of Appeal to sort out the venue question

B.C. transportation minister will not seek re-election

Claire Trevena has held the position since 2017

Young B.C. cancer survivor rides 105-km with Terry Fox’s brother

Jacob Bredenhof and Darrell Fox’s cycling trek raises almost $90,000 for cancer research

VIDEO: Shots fired outside Langley gas station that was scene of 2018 homicide

No reports of injuries in Saturday evening incident

B.C. migrant, undocumented workers rally for permanent residency program

Rally is part of the Amnesty for Undocumented Workers Campaign led by the Migrant Workers Centre

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Preparations underway for pandemic election in Saskatchewan and maybe B.C.

Administrators in B.C. and around the country are also looking to expand voting by mail during the pandemic

Nearly 20 per cent of COVID-19 infections among health-care workers by late July

WHO acknowledged the possibility that COVID-19 might be spread in the air under certain conditions

Ferry riders say lower fares are what’s most needed to improve service

Provincial government announces findings of public engagement process

Most Read