On Dec. 5, 2017, Council approved a budget of $200,000 to explore a bid opportunity for the 2026 Winter Olympics. The funds will come from the Economic Development Reserve and will be used to:
- Secure expert advisor(s) $100,000
- Conduct public engagement $25,000
- Provide the project management resource for snow sport events $60,000
- Fund travel expenses for the mayor and one or two other staff to participate in the Observer Program at the games in PyeongChang. This is an essential part of International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) Knowledge Transfer Program $15,000
In June of 2016 the City of Calgary announced it would be exploring a bid for the 2026 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (OPWG). Since this time, the Mayor and senior administration have been meeting with local sport groups, the Calgary Bid Exploration Committee (CBEC) and City of Calgary representatives to determine how the Town of Canmore can be party to Calgary’s decision-making.
It was clear from the outset that the bid exploration conducted by the City was a Calgary-centric process designed only to determine if it was feasible for Calgary to bid. The Town was able to exert some influence on the CBEC deliverables through our involvement in Olympic village siting and legacy opportunity discussions and by providing input into the citizen survey conducted in the spring of 2017.
Given the current trajectory of the City of Calgary bid review process, and the recently announced IOC timelines for the bid city Dialogue and Candidature Stages, administration believes it is time for the Town of Canmore to conduct its own work to inform a Canmore decision on whether to bid on the 2026 OPWG.
Standards for OPWG games, security, housing, hosting, media, celebrations, cultural opportunities have grown significantly since 1988:
For more information on the work the City of Calgary has done to explore the possibility of a 2026 Olympic bid, visit their webpage here.
For more information on the Resort Municipality of Whistler's experience as the Host Mountain Resort of the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, visit their webpage here.
Possible Advancement of Strategic Plan Goals
While Council has yet to establish its strategic framework for delivery of the OPWG, there is some evidence that the following current strategic priorities of the Town of Canmore could be advanced through a successful Olympic Bid:
- Construction of affordable housing and employee housing units
- Economic diversification
- Enhancement of public transit and transportation mode shift options
Legacy Opportunities Exist for:
- Creation of SENSE of PLACE as a world class snow sports destination
- ECONOMIC DIVERSIFFICATION as a sport and mountain research centre of excellence
- AFFORDABLE ACCOMODATION through repurposing of athletes village as PAH and employee housing
- Developing TRANSIT and TRANSPORTATION LINKAGES to ease community congestion
CBEC released the results of a survey designed to gauge public opinion surrounding a potential 2026 OPWG bid in May of 2017. Approximately 2,000 residents from Calgary, Canmore, Banff and Cochrane participated in the survey, which showed broad base support for a bid across all communities.
303 Canmore residents surveyed with the following summarized results:
- 89% aware Calgary considering an Olympic bid
- 66% support Calgary region bidding for the Olympics
- 59% believe there will be a net positive impact on infrastructure
- 61% believe there will be a net positive impact on the economy
- 9% believe there will be a net positive impact on the environment
- 66% agree that cost of bidding is a worthwhile investment
We will be conducting additional Canmore-based public engagement that builds on the preliminary results of the initial survey conducted by CBEC. The intent of the engagement efforts will be to foster productive community dialogue in order to provide Council with validated information on the priorities of Canmore residents around Canmore’s role in a bid for the 2026 OPWG. More details will be published when they are available.