Calgary Olympic bid could include Whistler, Edmonton venues, IOC official says

The International Olympic Committee wants bidding cities like Calgary to aim for a more sustainable Olympics, by re-using existing facilities and spending less on the games.

Using ski jump from 2010 Games in B.C. touted as way to cut costs for Calgary

Christophe Dubi, Olympic Games executive director for the International Olympic Committee (IOC), says Calgary is welcome to consider making use of facilities in Whistler as it ponders a 2026 bid. (Mark Schiefelbein/Associated Press)

The International Olympic Committee wants bidding cities like Calgary to aim for a more sustainable Olympics, by re-using existing facilities and spending less on the games. 

IOC's executive director Christophe Dubi said on a conference call from Switzerland on Monday that Calgary's plan for a 2026 bid that would see updates to facilities from the 1988 games or some events held in Whistler, B.C., or Edmonton, would be welcome.

"Let's use what exists, including outside of the city, outside of the country for legacy and sustainability purpose. So this goes exactly in the direction we want," Dubi said.

The possibility of using the ski jump in Whistler from the 2010 Games has been floated as a way to cut costs. 

Dubi said the distance between Whistler and Calgary isn't a problem and noted equestrian events were held in Hong Kong during the 2008 Beijing summer games.

The IOC recently removed an old rule that dictated the minimum number of seats for venues, meaning smaller facilities could be built. 

It also suggested cities could construct temporary venues.

Other topics included ways to cut down on costs and utilize public transit. 

The ski Jumping facilities at Whistler Olympic Park in Whistler, B.C. (Al Bello/Getty Images)

An IOC delegation met with Calgary's city council Wednesday morning.

"I went into the meeting with some skepticism," said councillor Druh Farrell, who has been opposed to the city's bid, "... but they did talk about fundamental change."

Farrell said she was reassured by the discussion that centred around the cost of the event, changes to the IOC's governance, and the fact that the delegation came to Calgary on their own expense.

"To me, that's symbolic of an overall shift for the IOC — and they admitted it's because fewer cities are bidding, there's too much risk associated with it," Farrell said. 

Council is still waiting to find out if other levels of government will provide funding supports. 

The delegation is in Calgary to tour facilities from the 1988 Olympics and meet with the city's Olympic project team.

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

Cities that are interested in bidding for the 2026 games should submit a letter of intent by the end of March, the committee said. 

With files from CBC's Scott Dippel, Dave Gilson and The Canadian Press