Yellowknife city councillors distance themselves from Canada Winter Games bid

All Yellowknife city councillors say they either won’t vote in support of bidding to host the 2023 Canada Winter Games or have trouble justifying the costs.

'Timing's not right' and 'too many uncertainties' say councillors at committee meeting

All Yellowknife city councillors at a Monday municipal services committee meeting 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)

All Yellowknife city councillors say they either won't vote in support of bidding to host the 2023 Canada Winter Games or have trouble justifying the costs.

Even councillor Shauna Morgan, who had heretofore pledged to keep an open mind on the issue, appeared reluctant to support the effort during a Monday municipal services committee meeting.

"I do support sport promotion and athlete development and economic development," said Morgan.

"I am not convinced that the Canada Winter Games is the best way to achieve those objectives."

One legacy-building scenario would see an athletes village converted into housing for seniors, but Morgan said she'd rather see purpose-built facilities rather than buildings retroactively fitted to meet a second, future need.

Julian Morse said the number that stood out to him was that only 251 people — people who weren't from Whitehorse and who weren't athletes or the parents of athletes — attended the previous Games in Whitehorse.

Niels Konge said Yellowknife is better suited to hosting summer games.

"We can build a track. It's a little harder to build a mountain," said Konge, referring to upgrades required for the Yellowknife Ski Club.

"The timing's not right," said Rommel Silverio.

"On paper it looks good for the city to host the games but there are too many uncertainties," said Steve Payne.

More than one councillor expressed support for a hotel tax, but not as pitched by city administrators, who envision one half of tax proceeds paying for tourism promotion and the other half paying for the cost of the games. Instead, councillors want all proceeds of the tax to go to tourism promotion.

Councillors will officially vote on the Games bid next Monday.

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