David Black speaks to the media during a press conference at his house about Greater Victoria’s bid to host the 2022 Commonwealth Games. The bid committee chair wants to address concerns residents have about the cost of hosting the Games. Arnold Lim/Black Press

EDITORIAL: Games enthusiasm captured on video

Victoria 2022 bid committee chair Black has ammunition to counter naysayers

Greater Victoria’s 2022 Commonwealth Games bid committee is ramping up its efforts to secure the multi-sport and cultural event by assembling a promotional video featuring some of the movers and shakers around the region, as well average citizens.

The project, being worked on by Black Press staffers including those at the Victoria News, is partially a response to the video call to action created by competing 2022 Games bidder Liverpool.

The goal of the Victoria video is to portray the widespread support for the Games bid among leaders around the Capital Region, and average citizens excited about the prospect of welcoming the world again and gaining improved facilities for use down the road.

David Black, chair of the bid committee and owner of Black Press, calls the video a “fun creative idea and the start of pulling us all together to put on a great set of Games.”

He acknowledges there are naysayers who feel a Victoria Commonwealth Games is the wrong project at the wrong time given the perceived cost and even fears over security. Not only is the bid committee asking the federal government to cover the cost of security, Black points out that our region has a golden opportunity to leverage outside funding to great advantage for the long-term betterment of the community like no time in its history.

The Games bid financial plan estimates an economic influx to the region of as much as $1 billion. That includes not only tourism visits, but things like funding for housing – the athletes village would revert to affordable housing after the Games – transportation projects and improved facilities.

By Black’s calculation, local taxpayers would be on the hook for no more than $17 million, less than two per cent of the total cost of putting on the Games. The last Victoria Games in 1994 actually made $20 million, he said, and the legacy fund created from that event continues to grow. That’s not to mention the boost local athletes have received over the past 15 to 20 years by having national training centres and top-notch coaches based here.

We agree with Black that local support for the Games bid will keep growing as people find out more about the potential benefits. Greater Victoria’s time is now, as you’ll hear in the upcoming video.