Move ahead on EXPO bid: Edmonton report

The City of Edmonton should begin detailed work on a bid to host an EXPO in 2017, a report released Thursday recommends.

The City of Edmonton should begin detailed work on a bid to host an EXPO in 2017, a report released Thursday recommends.

The time is right for the city to pursue the opportunity, says the report, which summarizes the results of a conceptual study prepared for Edmonton city council.

"Hosting the world through an EXPO would not only help us establish an international reputation and presence, it would move us years ahead in realizing our vision and developing a physical presence that distinguishes us," Coun. Jane Batty said in a city news release.

"We feel Edmonton should look at this opportunity seriously. We're recommending proceeding with the development of a national bid. Clearly, the experience of other cities suggests that an event like EXPO can be transformational."

Batty was one of two city councillors involved in the development of the conceptual report, the result of input from a citizen's committee, outside consultants and city staff.

According to the report, EXPO 2017 would bring an estimated 1.2 million visitors to Edmonton, with a target attendance of 4.7 million visits.

Preliminary estimates peg the costs of staging the event to between $1.6 billion and $3 billion in 2008 dollars, though "costs of EXPOS vary widely", the report said.

The cost of preparing of business case to make a national bid would cost $4.5 million, with half the money to come from the city and the other half from the province.

Edmonton city council will discuss the report on Oct. 29.

EXPOs are awarded and regulated by the International Exhibitions Bureau, which is based in France.

They were originally set up as a way to show off inventions such as the telephone and the electric light, but today's EXPOS are, according to the report, a way "to share knowledge, information, ideas and innovation around a theme of future significance to the global community."