Do or die for Calgary Olympic bid at council Monday

Monday could mark the end of any dreams of the 2026 Winter Olympics being in Calgary, or it could be a big step on the road to going after the event.

Council will have to decide if spending another $2M makes sense

Calgary city council is being asked to approve spending $2 million more for the preparations for a possible Olympic bid. The money would come from the city's rainy day fund. (Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press)

Read the latest on this story | Calgary council votes to keep Olympic bid alive

Monday could mark the end for any dreams of the 2026 Winter Olympics being held in Calgary, or it could be a big step on the road to going after the event.

City council is being asked to approve spending $2 million more on the preparations for a possible bid. The money would come from the city's rainy day fund.

One city councillor, Shane Keating, calls it an Olympic-sized fork in the road — approve spending $2 million and get ready to form a bid corporation, or reject the idea.

Administration says if it gets the no-go from council, all Olympic work should cease.

Moshe Lander, a professor of economics at Concordia University, says given that Calgary hosted the games in 1988, it's already on the winter sports map, so there's little to gain by bidding on another Olympics.

"Olympics in general are not profitable endeavours," Lander said.

"The only Olympic Games that I am familiar with that actually made a profit were the 1984 Summer Games in Los Angeles, and that was because they advertised the crap out of every site. Even the London Summer Olympics in 2012 weren't marketed in a way that made them profitable."

But he adds there are other benefits. 

"The reason for hosting them then is say, for status, or to push forward infrastructure projects that otherwise wouldn't take place."

Four city councillors are already on record as being opposed to putting any more money into the bid.

The games could cost $4.6 billion.

Monday's report indicates responses on possible federal and provincial support are expected by the end of the year.

With files from Scott Dippel