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Calgary city council chooses to delay decision on Olympic bid plebiscite to April

WATCH: Calgarians won't find out until April whether they will have a say in a possible Calgary Olympic bid. Jill Croteau explains.

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.”

WATCH BELOW: Olympic bid confusion a hot topic at Calgary City Council on Monday

Olympic bid confusion a hot topic at Calgary City Council on Monday
Olympic bid confusion a hot topic at Calgary City Council on Monday

READ MORE: Calgary city council votes to continue 2026 Winter Olympics bid process

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.

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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.

READ MORE: Olympics file has Calgary council at a crossroads on plebiscite

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.

“Just like an election – 30 per cent of the people voted, so be it. 10 per cent of the people voted, so be it,” Chu said. “People have the chance to do it. [If] they don’t want to take part, well I’m sorry. And that’s just the way it is.”

Councillors Chu, Jeromy Farkas and Joe Magliocca voted against the delay.

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