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2017 Calgary mayoral candidates Q&A: Do you support a 2026 Calgary Olympic Games?

The Olympic Oval is one facility that would likely be reused if Calgary makes a bid for 2026 Winter Olympics. Global News

Global News asked our Calgary viewers and readers to tell us which issues matter most ahead of the municipal election on Oct. 16.

A 2026 Calgary Olympic bid was among the top concerns.

We asked all 10 mayoral candidates to answer your questions below, keeping answers to six sentences per issue. Their answers are reprinted here, edited only to meet our Global News editorial standards.

FULL COVERAGE: 2017 Calgary municipal election

Question: 

Do you support a 2026 Calgary Olympic Games? Why or why not?

Answer from Jason (Jason GoGo) Achtymichuk:

“Yes, but only if we can utilize many existing facilities and upgrade them to current world-class standards, without having to rebuild. An example of a financial success was the 1984 Summer Olympics that used existing tracks, stadiums and facilities. This is the only way to make the numbers work for our city. A $4-billion investment for a new build with a $2-billion return does not make economic sense.”

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Answer from Andre Chabot:

“Hosting the Olympics would be a tremendous opportunity for the city; however, we just do not have the ability to afford hosting at this time. With so many Calgarians out of work and businesses struggling, the financial requirements would outweigh the potential benefits.”

Answer from Brent Chisholm:

No response by publication time.

Answer from Emile Gabriel:

“I love sports and practice at least seven. I lived the 1988 Olympics and met with many athletes while I was doing my research at University of Calgary, where many of those athletes were living or practising at the university. I’ll support if we can afford it, providing that all the intelligent analysis and supporting facts prove favourable.”

Answer from Larry Heather:

“With the current state of overcommitments to tribalistic identity group spending and the excessive urban design planning of the City, the Games are unwise. Only a drastic curtailment of spending on both projected programs and staff would enable us to compete in the Olympic funding decathlon. Careful attention must also be paid to the newly emerging demands of the IOC [International Olympic Committee] that may make the Games unworkable under the best of circumstances. The multiplication of events, since we last saw the event in 1988, may mean that it is no longer able to be held in just one host city. So as it sits now under the Nenshi regime, the challenge is unworkable. Drastic action is needed within the next year to wisely attempt it.”
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Answer from David Lapp:

“Calgarians care about the economy and jobs. The bread-and-circuses diversion of the Olympics are not really top-of-mind for regular folk. They’re just trying to feed their kids and avoid being laid off. We’ve already hosted the Olympics, and don’t need to expend billions in order to host again what will almost certainly be a major debt creator. The Olympics are a major bet that we can’t afford to make – and they won’t pay off. This is a distraction and a risk that we can’t afford to take in these dire economic times.”

Answer from Naheed Nenshi:

“It depends.

Hosting the Olympics in 1988 was undeniably good for Calgary. The two enduring legacies from 1988 are the top-tier sports facilities still in use today (because of the surplus generated on the operations of the Games) and Calgarians discovering their incredible spirit of volunteerism, which continues to build stronger communities to this day.

However, we have to understand if bidding is right for Calgary at this time. We have undertaken a unique process among host cities of having a rigorous analysis done well in advance of any bid. In order to move forward, we must reach a deal with the IOC [International Olympic Committee] to cover the $450-million gap on the operating costs of the Games identified by the Calgary Bid Exploration Committee — we will not bid if the City is responsible for this deficit. We also have to decide as a community if the capital investment required to update and upgrade our facilities is the right priority.”
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Answer from Curtis Olson:

“I do not support a 2026 Olympic Games bid due to the economic downturn that the city is experiencing and the struggles that Calgarians are facing in terms of unemployment and rising living costs. A comprehensive cost/benefit analysis has not been conducted by the Calgary Olympic Bid Exploration Committee and it would be financially irresponsible to proceed based on estimates and predictions.”

Answer from Bill Smith:

“I loved being here in Calgary for the 1988 Winter Games. It was a lot of fun and created a great sense of national and local pride. But it has to make economic sense for Calgary taxpayers if we are to entertain another Olympic bid. I will negotiate with the IOC [International Olympic Committee] to make sure it bears the fiscal risks associated with hosting the Games.”

Answer from Stan (the Man) Waciak:

“I believe our city should get its s*** together before we consider the Olympics.”

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