Calgary bid for 2026 Games could benefit from reuse of 1988 venues, councillor says
All of the legacy facilities still operating almost 30 years later
Calgary should only pursue another winter Olympic bid if the city's legacy facilities from the 1988 games can be used again, says a city councillor.
Ward 6 Coun. Richard Pootmans seconded the motion to spend $5-million to explore the bid for the 2026 winter games.
Pootmans told CBC's The Homestretch he could be on board if the International Olympic Committee (IOC) will accept Calgary's existing facilities, such as the Olympic Oval, with only minor upgrades.
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But he says he will need to be convinced the return will match the investment.
"In terms of profile, in terms of reputation, in terms of all of those good things. I think everyone accepts that those are real, but when you are talking about substantial sums of public money, what exactly do they mean," he said.
Al Duerr, Calgary's mayor from 1989 to 2001, notes that all of Calgary's facilities from the '88 games continue to operate.
And he questions the need to have larger and more dramatic venues than some recent host cities. The 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi cost $55 billion, dramatically more than any previous Games.
"All of the figure skating, all of the practicing, all of that stuff was occurring in all of the little arenas around Calgary because there wasn't enough capacity in Calgary," Duerr said.
"If you'd look at just Calgary alone in terms of WinSport and all of the other community facilities, we're far better off than we were back for the 1988 Olympics."
The city has until September 2017 to decide whether to make a formal bid. The IOC will choose a host in 2019, giving the winner seven years to prepare for the Games.
With files from The Homestretch