Despite the mayor saying earlier in the week that timelines were tight to get a plebiscite done, a decision on whether to take the question of an Olympics bid to a public vote won’t happen until April.
Calgary city council voted 10-3 on Wednesday morning to refer a motion by Coun. Sean Chu to the April 10 meeting of the Priorities and Finance Committee.
“Last night, we did ask for a community engagement plan,” said Coun. George Chahal, who moved to refer the vote. “I think it’s important that we discuss this plebiscite through a robust engagement plan.”
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On Tuesday, council voted in favour of allowing administration to move ahead on two fronts if – and only if – financial support for a bid comes from the provincial and federal governments.
The plan would include establishing a bid corporation (bidco) to continue the work of preparing the information needed to inform a bid decision, and to come back to council with a plan to consult Calgarians on how they feel about a potential bid.
Chu’s motion would direct council to ask the International Olympics Committee (IOC) for a six-month bid deadline extension, conduct a “vote of the electors,” and postpone any decision on whether to bid until after the vote.
“We need to have a very informed conversation and we don’t have all the information we need to have to have an informed conversation,” said Coun. Gian-Carlo Carra.
Coun. Ward Sutherland pressed Chu for a number of details on the plebiscite he envisions: asking his colleague who would be allowed to vote, what would be the threshold for a successful vote, and what level of voter turnout would be considered an accurate representation of the public’s opinion.
Councillors Chu, Jeromy Farkas and Joe Magliocca voted against the delay.