Time not right for a Games bid for Victoria, tax watchdog says

Stan Bartlett wants more community input before area taxpayers asked to pay for Games

From the perspective of most residents and taxpayers, we’re off to a very bad start on this estimated $1.5-billion mega sports extravaganza.

The bid committee may say otherwise, but much of the community has not decided or even been consulted on whether they want to be involved in the 2022 Commonwealth Games.

But opposition to the bid is gathering momentum: A recent CHEK-TV poll involving almost 2,000 residents resulted in 90 per cent of respondents opposed to spending $955 million on the Commonwealth Games in Victoria.

This week, Esquimalt tabled a unanimous motion declining to be involved in the bid and not to incur any police costs.

An administrative body of the 13 local municipalities called the Capital Regional District – which in no way is representative of, or accountable to, or mandated by residents of the Capital Region – cautiously gave the bid conditional support several weeks ago without any due diligence or staff input. It was during a closed door meeting with no public vote or discussion or media present.

Note the qualified CRD motion reads, “We support in principle, the hosting of the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Victoria, Canada, subject to a proper business plan being presented and approved by local governments and institutions, in public.”

What was presented to the public last week was a funding request to the federal, provincial and local taxpayer to pick up 85 per cent of the costs. It has not yet been subjected to an independent third-party analysis by a financial firm to see if the numbers add up.

While we recognize the opportunities and benefits of hosting the 2022 Commonwealth Games, citizens have serious reservations about the fast-tracked and top-down approach to the community-at-large and the implications for bedraggled taxpayers.

Stan Bartlett, chair,

Grumpy Taxpayer$

of Greater Victoria

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