International Olympic Committee commitments to cost reduction require further examination
CBEC recommends integration of new factors into existing analysis
The Calgary Bid Exploration Committee (CBEC) delivered its recommendation on the feasibility and prudence of bidding on the 2026 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games to Calgary City Council this morning. Within its report, CBEC developed a feasible Games concept and an independently verified budget estimate. However, recent International Olympic Committee (IOC) process and timeline changes have introduced new factors that have not yet been included within the exploration and could have significant effects.
When it comes to the question of feasibility, CBEC’s members arrived at an unconditional “yes” conclusion. The concept developed by CBEC contains realistic cost estimates, an accurate representation of what venues and accommodations could be available by 2026, an appropriate security framework to minimize risk, and a compelling vision that aligns with Calgary’s Triple Bottom Line policy. All of these factors led to a confident “yes” in regard to whether Calgary can functionally host the 2026 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.
Whether Calgary should bid on the Games is a different question that became more complex over the last several weeks. In mid-July, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) made significant changes to its candidature processes and timelines. The IOC also offered to support Calgary in reducing its forecasted operational costs after CBEC’s initial findings presentation to Council on June 19th. In addition, the new Host City Requirements from the IOC have yet to be released, which will contain information that will be critical to the City’s deliberation and could also present material changes to CBEC’s current proposed concept.
“Our Committee found that the answer to the question of feasibility - “Can we host the Games?” – is clearly yes,” said Rick Hanson, CBEC Chair. “But the question of “Should we bid?” requires more work in light of new information.”
The existing value of CBEC’s work is considerable in having developed a comprehensive Games concept, estimated budget and a detailed assessment of existing infrastructure required to host a Winter Games. There are, however, some outstanding pieces of information from the IOC that should be added to the concept to ensure due diligence around any associated potential cost savings. Added clarity to host city commitments and changes to the economic model should also provide all three levels of government with more information to help them decide on whether to support a potential bid.
“We believe the potential economic and social benefits of hosting the Games are significant enough to warrant careful consideration of a bid, but we need to ensure we have all available information to make an informed decision. With the support from Calgarians and community and sport organizations, hosting the Games could galvanize an existing spirit of volunteerism and provide opportunities for a new, more diverse generation of Calgarians to get involved,” said Hanson. “We need to take the time to apply the new information from the IOC and fully understand how these changes will impact our existing concept, and more accurately identify what the true benefits for Calgarians could be.”
Due to the importance of ensuring all relevant information is included in the decision making process, CBEC recommends further exploration of a potential Calgary bid be undertaken to assess the prudence of a bid. CBEC recommends City Council to direct City Administration, in consultation with CBEC, to develop a plan on how to determine if the outstanding questions can be satisfied and report back at the September 11, 2017 Council meeting.
For more information, please contact:
Calgary Bid Exploration Committee