Should the city of Vancouver support a bid for the 2030 Olympics?


A report from Vancouver’s deputy city manager raised four major concerns, and she urged city council to address them before deciding whether to back the bid.

The proposal to bring the Winter Olympics back to Vancouver in 2030 is in trouble.

Vancouver Deputy City Manager Karen Levitt’s report to the July 20 city council meeting on policy and strategic priorities says the lack of support from the federal and British Columbia governments and fatigue city ​​staff mean she cannot recommend continuing to explore other Olympics.

The Canadian Olympic Committee and its Four Host First Nations (FHFN) partners were hoping to get official support from City Council this month. But Levitt’s report to one of the final meetings scheduled before the Oct. 15 election raises four major concerns, and she urges the city council to get answers before deciding whether to back the bid.

“Staff is of the view that in order for the Board to provide such a negotiating mandate to Staff, the Board should have a clear understanding of the proposed funding, operating, compensation and governance models for Colombia’s proposed candidacy. -British. None of these are currently in place,” Levitt’s report said.

The International Olympic Committee plans to name the host when it meets in Mumbai, India in May 2023. Salt Lake City and Sapporo are also considering offers. Vancouver’s partners in the Exploratory Assembly of Host Nations, which includes the Resort Municipality of Whistler and the Musqueam, Squamish, Tsleil-Waututh and Lil’wat First Nations, have not announced whether they officially support the bid.

“Consistent with the agreed-upon process, this was to be the first step in determining whether all parties would collectively advance an offer from British Columbia,” Levitt’s report said.

The financial, compensation and governance models are not yet known and there is no guarantee from the top government to cover potential deficits from the Games. The federal sports hosting policy prevents Ottawa from funding major event deficits. For the 2010 Winter Olympics, the BC Liberal government acted as guarantor, but the NDP government has said it is unwilling, at this time, to even for 2030.

“The absence of a clear senior government commitment to indemnify the event represents a material difference in the context of Vancouver, compared to the 2010 Games,” Levitt’s report said. “Given the magnitude of the potential liability, it would not be possible for the city to become the host city of the 2030 Winter Games without being duly compensated.”

Levitt’s fourth major concern is the lack of time to assess the costs, benefits and risks to the city and to negotiate multiparty agreements before the COC’s December 2022 deadline.

In a June 24 letter to COC President Tricia Smith, Melanie Mark, NDP Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture and Sport, set August 15 as the deadline for a mini-plan. cases allowing the province to decide when it wants to support the offer. The COC had already planned to make a formal proposal to the Treasury Boards of British Columbia and the federal government in October.

One of Mark’s main requirements is how each of the municipal and Aboriginal parties involved would share the costs and risks. She also wants to know how an organizing committee would be financed by the IOC and financed by the private sector. So far, the four host nations have only publicly committed to providing space in MST Developments’ Jericho Lands on which to build a new Vancouver Olympic Village.

Levitt’s report says city staff are “currently facing an unprecedented workload.” They face pandemic-related staff attraction and retention issues while working with the organizers of the 2023 Laver Cup tennis tournament, 2025 Invictus Games and 2026 FIFA World Cup, and juggle large and complex cases. These include the Squamish Nation/Westbank Development Senakw Services Agreement, the Vancouver Plan, the Broadway Plan, the Broadway Subway Extension, as well as homelessness, mental health and public safety issues. Further Olympics would require an entirely hands-on approach, across all major departments from City Hall, Park Board, and Police and Fire Services.

“Although a full analysis of the cost-benefits/implications of potential hosting of the 2030 Winter Games has not been undertaken by staff, it can be said that at present there are concerns important in terms of the ability of city staff to actually take care of a guest. City role for the 2030 Winter Games, without significant investment in additional staff resources.

The COC estimates that additional Games would cost at least $4 billion, including $1 billion to $1.2 billion for taxpayers. The estimate did not include essential services, such as those required of municipal governments.

The COC is proposing to host the 2030 Games at most of the venues that were used for Vancouver 2010, with the exception of curling, big air and medals concerts at Hastings Park and snowboarding and freestyle skiing at Sun Peaks resort near Kamloops.

The COC privately discouraged every municipal and Indigenous partner from holding a referendum this year, fearing it would ruin its chance to enter into closed-door negotiations with the IOC over its new Games award process. . In April, the council. Colleen Hardwick unsuccessfully proposed that a plebiscite be added to the October ballot. Mayor Kennedy Stewart was found guilty of violating the code of conduct for tweets that falsely accused Hardwick of violating a non-binding agreement with Whistler and FHFN.

The total all-inclusive cost of building and hosting the 2010 Games has been estimated at $8 billion. The largest operational item was RCMP-led security at nearly $1 billion. City taxpayers spent $554.3 million, not including the $1.1 billion Olympic Village bailout, which was eventually repaid in 2014. Vancouverites were left with three new or renovated community centers, a new convention center and the Canada Line, but the actual costs are unknown.

BC’s Auditor General did not conduct a post-Games audit and the 2010 organizing committee, known as VANOC, was not governed by access to information legislation. VANOC has transferred its board minutes and financial records to the City of Vancouver Archives under a contract that says they are not to be released until the fall of 2025.

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