Edmonton drops 2022 Commonwealth Games bid

Edmonton has dropped its bid to host the 2022 Commonwealth Games, after announcing last March that it would take part.

Withdrawal comes after province says it will not be primary backer for bid

Edmonton said it would "transfer its interest" into a bid for the 2026 Commonwealth Games. (Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

Edmonton's bid to host the 2022 Commonwealth Games is the latest casualty of the province's economic woes. 

The city has withdrawn the bid it put in last March, following an agreement with the province to pay the majority of the $1 billion cost.

On Tuesday, Mayor Don Iveson said the city withdrew the bid after being told by Premier Jim Prentice that the provincial government would not be the primary backer of the bid.

“It is certainly disheartening to have come this far and to be this close to submitting what we believe would have been a winning bid,” Mayor Don Iveson said at a press conference.

“The scale of this event is not something Edmonton can handle on its own.”

Supporters of Edmonton’s bid for the games expressed their disappointment after the mayor’s announcement.

Diane Jones-Konihowski, who became famous as Canada's 'golden girl' after winning the pentathlon when Edmonton last hosted the games in 1978, said the city stands to miss out on a lot of money without the bid.

“There’s jobs created around building infrastructure, there’s the international recognition you get, publicity through television that brings tourism dollars afterwards,” she said.

The city has already spent about $2 million in preparation for making its bid. The province has agreed to cover 70 per cent of those costs.

Iveson said withdrawing from the games was the responsible thing to do given the province’s financial woes, but urged the government to wean itself off its dependence on resource revenues.

“Until our province’s revenue model is more stable, long term, Alberta will continue to struggle to realize our bolder aspirations,” he said.

Iveson said council viewed the Commonwealth Games as a catalyst project for the city, and suggested with the bid now withdrawn, plans to renovate city recreation centres will be delayed.

City council had hoped to refurbish several potential venues, such as the Kinsmen Sports Centre and Commonwealth Stadium.

“The games would have allowed that to occur on a definite and aggressive timeline, with support ideally from other orders of government and sponsors,” he said.

“This will set that back by at least four years.”

Commonwealth Games Canada offered Edmonton the first right of acceptance for the 2026 bid. The mayor said the city will now concentrate its efforts on those games.

Completed bids for the 2022 games are due at the Federation by March 2015, with the Games being awarded in September 2015.