Is Edmonton’s pursuit of the 2022 Commonwealth Games worthwhile?
Watch above: The push to bring the Commonwealth Games back to Edmonton continues. The mayor is in Glasgow, Scotland where the 2014 games are underway. But as Vinesh Pratap reports, the spotlight on the games is not as bright as other international events, leading to the question ‘are the games worth it?’
EDMONTON – A delegation representing Edmonton has made its way to Glasgow, Scotland as the city firms its bid for the 2022 Commonwealth Games.
Mayor Don Iveson is among the delegates in Glasgow, where the 2014 Commonwealth Games are currently underway, as the push to bring the games back to Edmonton continues.
“We’re building a great reputation as a summer sports centre in western Canada and what better way to solidify it than with a major multi-sport tournament like the Commonwealth Games,” said Iveson, over the phone from Scotland.
Edmonton hosted the games in 1978, which has led some to question the city’s need to host them again. But nearly 40 years later, the games have grown and Iveson believes that’s something Edmonton should take advantage of.
“Glasgow’s really turned a corner in terms of its revitalization, thanks in large part to the games,” he explained.
“They’ve had a chance to reinvest in a lot of infrastructure, as well as make some transportation upgrades and attract a lot of development into the downtown of their city. Where there used to be ship yards there are now wonderful redevelopments.”
And with more than 70 countries taking part in the games, Iveson believes the relationships Canada would build will also be beneficial.
“There are great trading relationships, whether it’s to recruit University students, to recruit labour or develop export markets for our products and services from Alberta,” he explained.
“We’ve got some ideas about how we create lasting links to some of these other nations.”
Dan Mason, a professor of sport management at the University of Alberta, believes the games would be extremely beneficial to Edmonton, both as a way to bring the city together and as a way to get infrastructure dollars from other levels of government.
“Edmonton, historically, has been very smart in the way it’s built facilities, some of the major facilities like Commonwealth Stadium,” Mason explained. “Being strategic about the types of infrastructure that you need and the type of infrastructure that you will be using afterwards is really key to make sure that you’re not wasting money chasing these high-profile events.”
The estimated cost of hosting the 2022 Commonwealth Games is $1 billion. City Council is unanimous in its support for the games and the province is also behind the city.
“Right now the provincial commitment is very, very strong and we need it to be strong through the bid process here,” said Iveson. “And I have every confidence that the government will be supportive through that, and after that there’s really no going back.”
Iveson says the city’s delegation has really put Edmonton’s best foot forward during its time in Glasgow, and believes the game’s delegation is taking notice.
Completed bids for the 2022 Commonwealth Games are due to the Commonwealth Games Federation by March 2015. The games will be awarded in September 2015.
Edmonton’s delegation consists of 18 people, with the average cost being between $6,000 and $8,000 depending on the length of each person’s stay. The City of Edmonton is paying the costs for 11 delegates. Iveson’s wife is also on the trip, but she has paid her own way.
With files from Vinesh Pratap, Global News.
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