British Columbia

Victoria announces bid for 2022 Commonwealth Games

Bidding for the 2022 event was reopened after the South African city of Durban failed to meet its financial expectations. Now, Victoria is bidding to repeat its role as host from 1994.

Event needs a city who can step up quickly with facilities in place, says committee chair

David Black, chair of the Victoria Commonwealth Games bid committee, and former athlete Suzanne Weckend announced Wednesday that Victoria will bid to host the 2022 Commonwealth Games. (Megan Thomas/CBC)

The Victoria Commonwealth Games Committee announced today that the B.C. capital will compete to host the 2022 Commonwealth Games.

Durban was originally named as host, but the South African city was stripped of the event in March after the country's government failed to provide financial guarantees.

"They need a city to step up quickly and preferably a city with all of the facilities in place," David Black, the chair of Victoria's bid committee, told CBC's All Points West host Robyn Burns

Victoria was the last Canadian city to host the games in 1994.

"We are a good Plan B for them because everyone in the Commonwealth Games loved coming to Victoria and we have really good facilities, so it is sort of a natural."

Victoria will need to increase housing capacity by 6,500 beds for athletes and coaches, said Black, which would cost approximately $100 million. 

The committee's plan is to work with the University of Victoria to build more campus housing. That housing would operate as the athlete's village and then convert into additional beds for students once the Games are finished.

Coun. Ben Isitt, said he thinks the majority of any expenditures related to the Games should be incurred through philanthropic contributions. 

Issit added that the city has many competing priorities, including affordable housing. He says the Games are not a priority at this time.

Black argued the federal government planned to provide $300 million to Edmonton when it lost its bid to Durban and are keen now to support Victoria.

"We can hold these Games without asking for very much money [from the city]," said Black.

A decision on who will host the 2022 Commonwealth Games is expected in early fall.

With files from All Points West

To hear the complete interview click on the audio labelled Victoria announces bid for Commonwealth Games