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the ski jump in Whistler from the 2010 Games has been floated as an alternative to a costly refurbishment of the outdated one at Calgary’s Canada Olympic Park or building a new one 100 kilometres west in Canmore, Alta., for upwards of $100 million.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

United for Saanich among 62 slates running across British Columbia

The only communities outside Greater Victoria and the Lower Mainland featuring slates are Nelson and Sechelt

Puff, puff, pass: Cannabis is officially legal across Canada

B.C. has only one bricks-and-mortar marijuana store

PHOTOS: Celebration, heartbreak from weekend World Rowing in Sidney

On-water photographers capture the action for coastal rowing’s North American debut

10 things still illegal in the new age of recreational cannabis

Pot is legal – but there are still a lot of rules, and breaking some could leave you in jail

North Saanich residents commended for bravery in crash response

Six residents did not hesitate after serious single-vehicle crash

VIDEO: How to roll a joint

The cannabis connoisseur shares his secrets to rolling the perfect joint

Advance voting begins Oct. 10 in Greater Victoria

The polls open at 8 a.m. for the 2018 municipal election with the general election taking place Oct. 20

Find your future at Black Press career fair in Victoria

More than 70 booths expected at Bay Street Armoury on Oct. 25

1,000 needles pulled from Cowichan River

Duncan area cleanup project nets three huge truckloads of garbage

Harry and Meghan bring rain to drought-stricken Outback town

Prince Harry and his wife Meghan are on day two of their 16-day tour of Australia and the South Pacific.

Demand for legalized cannabis in early hours draws lineups, heavy web traffic

Government-run and privately operated sales portals went live at 12:01 a.m. local time across Canada, eliciting a wave of demand.

Killer-rapist Paul Bernardo set to make parole pitch today

Paul Bernardo, whose very name became synonymous with sadistic sexual perversion, is expected to plead for release on Wednesday.

Hero campaign raises $1.1 million for Canada non-profits

Lowe’s Canada Heroes campaign was held throughout September

Scope of Hurricane Michael’s fury becomes clearer in Florida Panhandle

Nearly 137,000 Florida customers remain without power from the Gulf of Mexico to the Georgia border

Most Read