Notley staying neutral for now on possible Calgary Olympic bid

Notley not ready to make decision on supporting potential Calgary bid for 2016 Olympic Games
Thu, Nov 23: Alberta’s Premier has not made up her mind on a whether to support Calgary bid for the 2016 Olympic Winter Games, saying she wants more details. This comes on a day when Canadian Olympic Committee executives were in closed-door meetings with city officials. Gary Bobrovitz has more.

As a potential Calgary bid for the 2026 Olympic Winter Games inches forward, key players are taking a wait-and-see attitude.

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley said Thursday she needs more information before making a decision on supporting a possible Calgary bid.

“There’s a lot of documentation and a lot of conflicting opinion and I think we owe it to taxpayers to think very hard about the economic benefits to make sure they are significant and real and so that’s what we are going to do,” Notley said.

“I am happy to listen to people and talk about it, but I’m reserving my decision until I have a had a chance to really review all the evidence.”

READ MORE: Sports economist throws cold water on new arena, Olympic bid for Calgary

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The comments come on the same day Chris Overholt, CEO of the Canadian Olympic Committee, was meeting behind closed doors with city officials in Calgary.

City Hall sources told Global News technical information on a bid is being discussed.

City council green lighted an extra $2 million in a vote on Monday to explore a bid that could ultimately cost an estimated $30 million.

The city said it wants a deeper dive into five areas before it enters a formal bid, including capital costs, security, operating costs, finances and financial guarantees.

READ MORE: Calgary city council commits additional $2M to 2026 Olympic Games bid exploration

Some council members remain opposed to the bid.

“I am dead set against it as I have grave concerns about the risks of having an Olympic bid would pose to Calgarians, both from a safety side but especially the economics,” Counc. Jeromy Farkas said.

“It just doesn’t make sense.”

Council also voted to study venues outside of Calgary as a cost-saving measure. Those could include using Edmonton sports facilities or incorporating venues from the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver and Whistler, B.C.

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The International Olympic committee (IOC) will invite cities to submit formal bids in October 2018 with a final deadline of January 2019.

The IOC will select the winning city to host the 2026 winter games in July 2019.