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Alberta NDP puts $10M into WinSport sliding track amid Calgary Olympic bid exploration

FILE: Canadians Pierre Lueders (right), Ben Hindle (left), Ken LeBlanc (centre) and Mark LeBlanc (back right) push their sleigh at the start of the 4-Man World Cup Bobsled heats in Calgary, Sunday February 18, 2001.
FILE: Canadians Pierre Lueders (right), Ben Hindle (left), Ken LeBlanc (centre) and Mark LeBlanc (back right) push their sleigh at the start of the 4-Man World Cup Bobsled heats in Calgary, Sunday February 18, 2001. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

The WinSport sliding track at Canada Olympic Park (COP) is getting a $10-million facelift. But Alberta’s premier says the money is not the result of a potential Calgary bid for the 2026 Winter Olympics.

“[It’s] a good investment for sports here in Calgary, it’s a good investment for our athletes regardless of where the Olympics ultimately take place,” Premier Rachel Notley said. “Already the case is made simply on the basis of those considerations.”

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The NDP government announced Friday it would put serious cash toward upgrading and modernizing the bobsleigh track, which is used for training by athletes across the country.

“Like too much of our infrastructure, the sliding track badly needs upgrades and improvements to keep it safe, operational and of world-class calibre,” Notley said.

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Notley said upgrading the track, which was built for the 1988 Olympic Winter Games in Calgary, is “essential” for training purposes and for hosting major events.

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“If we lose those events, not only do we fail our athletes, but we lose the tourism, the jobs and the economic opportunities that come along with it.”

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A study by the City of Calgary found WinSport facilities generate $62.4 million in wages, salaries and benefits for the city.

The work planned for the track includes upgrades to the refrigeration system and to an indirect cooling system, as well as track alterations that would bring it in line with current Olympic standards.

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