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Yellowknife city councillors to vote tonight on 2023 Canada Games bid

Yellowknife city councillors will vote tonight on whether to bid on hosting the 2023 Canada Winter Games.

Council widely expected to vote against bidding for 2023 Games

All Yellowknife city councillors at a municipal services committee meeting last Monday. At the meeting, all councillors said they either won't vote in support of bidding to host the 2023 Canada Winter Games or have trouble justifying the costs. (Randall McKenzie/CBC)

Yellowknife city councillors will vote tonight on whether to bid on hosting the 2023 Canada Winter Games.

Tellingly, the motion asks councillors to direct city administrators not to proceed with the development of a bid, following a council discussion last week during which many councillors said they would not vote in support of a bid.

On Friday in the legislative assembly, after prompting from Yellowknife North MLA (and former Yellowknife city councillor) Cory Vanthuyne, N.W.T. Finance Minister Robert C. McLeod addressed the lingering issue of whether the territorial government would help cover the majority of the costs for an athletes village.

McLeod said the government might, but only after city councillors voted in support of the bid.

"I can tell you that if the City decides to proceed with the bid, and subject to direction from the Financial Management Board, the N.W.T. Housing Corporation is prepared to enter and negotiate a 70/30 split on the construction of an athletes' village that will meet the needs of the Canada Winter Games and the NWT Housing Corporation for public housing," said McLeod.

"Given the expected increase in the number of seniors, this would also be a project that would benefit the seniors in the Northwest Territories as well. There is a possibility that we can use some federal social infrastructure money to pay for the government's share."

Tonight's city council meeting will see another pre-vote presentation from John Stephenson, the president of the Yellowknife Ski Club and a member of the committee that said Yellowknife can host. Stephenson presented to city council in favour of the bid last week.

The meeting will be held in city council chambers and is open to the public. It begins at 7:00 p.m. local time.

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