Calgary

Frustrated Calgary council could end Olympic bid on Sept. 10

After voting to spend another $5.1 million to pursue a potential Olympic bid, the mood at city council shifted on Monday after a closed-door meeting.

Councillors suggest they're not getting the information they need from other levels of government

Calgary city council emerged from a closed-door meeting on Monday pessimistic about its ongoing pursuit of an Olympic bid. (Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press)

After voting to spend another $5.1 million to pursue a potential Olympic bid, the mood at city council shifted on Monday after a closed-door meeting. 

Councillors emerged from that briefing questioning whether to continue the bid and looking at a vote on Sept. 10 on whether or not to continue chasing the Olympics. 

There were indications that council was not getting the funding information it needs from the federal and provincial governments. 

"This is a shot across the bow to the other orders of government," said Coun. Diane Colley-Urquhart. 

"If they're interested and serious about Calgary being committed to this process, then now's the time for them to step up in a timely manner and respond to many of the things that we need answers to."

Longtime Olympic bid opponent Coun. Druh Farrell emerged from the meeting pessimistic.

"Without talking about our discussion, I have to say that my confidence in an Olympic bid is at an all-time low," she said.

More funding

Earlier on Monday, council approved spending an additional $5.1 million to fund the group organizing Calgary's potential bid for the 2026 Winter Games, and on Tuesday that group will announce its CEO.

Also expected on Tuesday is a date for a plebiscite on pursuing the Olympics. 

Mayor Naheed Nenshi, however, said more information from the other levels of government is needed by the Sept. 10 council meeting, or it all could come to an end. 

"I'm hesitating using the word 'off-ramp' because it sounds so negative, but council will have the opportunity to determine whether they want to proceed or not," he said. 

"If they say no, obviously then there won't be a plebiscite. If they say yes, then the next step is a plebiscite."

With files from Scott Dippel

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