Whistler role in potential Calgary Olympic bid would be welcome: IOC

Calgary is mulling whether to vie for the 2026 Games, and could look to facilities in B.C.

An official with the International Olympic Committee says it would welcome a bid by Calgary to hold another Winter Games using some facilities in Whistler, B.C., or elsewhere.

Calgary is mulling whether to vie for the 2026 Games and a six-member IOC delegation is in the city this week to tour venues from the 1988 Olympics and to discuss ways to reduce the cost of holding them again.

The possibility of reusing the ski jump in Whistler from the 2010 Games has been floated as an alternative to a costly refurbishment of the outdated one at Calgary’s Canada Olympic Park or building a new one 100 kilometres west in Canmore, Alta., for upwards of $100 million.

Christophe Dubi, Olympic Games executive director, says it’s good news that the Whistler option is being considered.

“This goes exactly in the direction that we want,” he told a teleconference Wednesday.

“It doesn’t need to be a joint bid. It (would) remain Calgary, but using venues outside of Alberta. This is perfectly fine. This is encouraged.”

He said distance wouldn’t be a problem and noted that equestrian events were held in Hong Kong during the 2008 Beijing Summer Games.

READ MORE: Whistler venues could see 2026 Olympic action

READ MORE: Facelift of Calgary’s ’88 sliding track to bring change for bobsleigh team

With few cities interested in holding the Olympic Games, the IOC has made changes to make bidding and hosting cheaper and more sustainable.

“We have a little team on the ground that is doing exactly what we said we would do in this revamped canditature process, which is dialogue,” Dubi said.

Dubi, who was not on the Calgary trip, said he spoke to city councillors and Mayor Naheed Nenshi by phone earlier in the day.

IOC representatives have already visited other potential contenders — Sion, Switzerland and Stockholm — and plan to go to Sapporo, Japan just before the Games next month in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

Calgary city council voted in November to spend up to $2 million on top of $5 million already earmarked to explore a bid, but only $1 million would be released until it is known what the federal and provincial governments are willing to contribute to a bid. Council is expected to address the question again on Jan. 29.

City staff estimated a bid price tag would be between $25 million and $30 million. The cost of holding the Games has been pegged at $4.6 billion, with revenues covering about half that.

The 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver and Whistler, B.C., cost $7.7 billion.

Dubi listed off a variety of ways that costs could be reduced for host cities: using energy more efficiently at the International Broadcast Centre, encouraging public transit, shifting some responsibilities to sports federations and ensuring venues aren’t any bigger than they need to be.

He said the IOC has said it would provide US$925 million to the successful 2026 bid city, but called that a preliminary number.

The IOC will invite cities to bid for 2026 this October and the deadline will be January 2019.

Dubi said Calgary has until the end of March to decide whether it’s interested in moving to the next phase of talks with the IOC.

Lauren Krugel, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

New reservation system in place at Island View Beach campsite

CRD launches new system for campers at the park

Sooke mom threatens legal action against sunscreen company

Caleb Jordan, 6, was covered in blisters 20 minutes after using Banana Boat sunscreen

Sooke Food Bank hits the open road

Food bank buys new van after grant from Food Bank B.C.

RICKTER SCALE: Rubber on the rebound

Rick Stiebel | Columnist When it comes to Vanity Fair, you can’t… Continue reading

Oak Bay youth give teens a voice, explore homelessness, talk to seniors for podcasts

Teens pleased as teacher adds podcast creation to English 12 class

VIDEO: Tide pool school draws a crowd to explore seaside in Oak Bay

Friends of Uplands Park hosted the inter-tidal exploration at Cattle Point on… Continue reading

36 fires started May long weekend, most due to lightning: BC Wildfire

As warmer weather nears, chief fire officer Kevin Skrepnek says too soon to forecast summer

Ariana Grande sends message of hope on anniversary of Manchester bombing

Prince William joins survivors and emergency workers for remembrance service

B.C. flood risk switches from snowmelt to rainfall: River Forecast Centre

Kootenays and Fraser River remain serious concerns

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of May 22

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Pipeline more important than premiers meeting: Notley

“Canada has to work for all Canadians, that’s why we’re fighting for the pipeline”

Canadian government spending tens of millions on Facebook ads

From January 2016 to March 2018, feds spent more than $24.4 million on Facebook and Instagram ads

VIDEO: How to use naloxone to stop a fentanyl overdose

ANKORS’ Chloe Sage shows what to do when someone is overdosing

Most Read