Deputy Premier Sarah Hoffman and Alberta Culture and Tourism Minister Ricardo Miranda will join City of Calgary officials as observers at the 2018 Winter Games, but Hoffman said Thursday that’s not an indication they’ll be putting money towards an Olympic bid.
The Olympics are being held in February in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi, who is expected to be part of the Calgary delegation, suggested the news is a “positive sign” the province is interested in helping Calgary prepare a potential bid for the 2026 Olympics.
LISTEN: City Councillor Joe Magliocca decries the City of Calgary footing the bill for provincial officials to go to the Olympics in South Korea.
WATCH BELOW: Calgary Olympic bid committee needs clarity on where finances would come from
“I would imagine that’s a pretty strong signal that if they want to observe, then they’re willing to fund their cost of the bid committee,” he said.
Nenshi said the city will have to finalize the council calendar to make sure the timing works before he fully commits to attending the Games.
Hoffman said she is excited to attend the 2018 Olympic Games in February, but that no decisions on whether to fund an Olympic bid have been made.
LISTEN: Is the province supporting Calgary’s Olympic Bid?
“We were partners, I understand. When we had the Calgary Olympics, Seoul also had their Olympics that same year, so they feel a deep connection with us,” she said. “They definitely raised that they were hoping we would come at that time.”
“I look forward to doing that; to having an opportunity to be part of the Canadian delegation and to spend some time with the folks from Calgary and see where that takes us.”
In November, Calgary city council approved an additional $2 million (half of which is contingent on a commitment from the provincial and federal governments) to continue exploring a potential bid. The city said it wants a yes or no from the federal and provincial governments by January 2018.
“We’ve been pretty clear that council gave a deadline for the province and the feds — on whether they want to participate in the bid committee— by the end of January, which is before the Pyeongchang Olympics,” the mayor said.
City administration told Calgary city council in November that setting up a bid corporation, which would then prepare a bid book, would cost $25 to $30 million. It would include all levels of government, as well as the Canadian Olympic Committee.
News Talk 770 reached out to the culture and tourism minister but did not immediately receive a response.