More money required in city’s Olympic bid process work

A uniform from the 1988 Olympic torch run is seen in Calgary on Thursday, Oct. 8, 2009.
A uniform from the 1988 Olympic torch run is seen in Calgary on Thursday, Oct. 8, 2009. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

There will be more city money required in the Calgary Olympic bid process to set up so-called a city secretariat.

A secretariat will filter the work the bid corporation is undertaking and deal in areas like planning, risk mitigation, legal, finance and essential services.

The funding for this work is over and above the city’s contribution to the $30 million BidCo, however any money will come out of existing city budgets and not be an additional ask.

Councillor Peter Demong says a secretariat will perform important work.

“When you talk about transportation: how is the transportation system we have, how will it align if we were to go forward? How would our emergency services align with what a BidCo is suggesting?”

READ MORE: Calgary inches closer to setting plebiscite date on 2026 Winter Olympics

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Calgary city council’s 2026 Olympic and Paralympic assessment committee also heard that work on a bid book is progressing and at least $20 million will be saved by using the world accredited anti doping lab in Montreal, rather than building a temporary lab in Calgary.

“There’s over $50 million of investment in that lab to keep it current and they’re constantly reinvesting,” Terry Wright, a consultant working for the city of Calgary on the Olympic file said. “If you were to create a second one there would be duplication and a lot of cost.”

Not having to build a temporary lab, like Vancouver had to in 2010, is in line with the International Olympic Committee’s Agenda 2020 program.

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Wright also believes that security costs can come in lower than the $612 million estimated by the Calgary Bid Exploration committee last year.

“If you just follow the same old approach as Vancouver, it could be worse. But if you follow the approach that they approached for Toronto 2015, it could be better.”

Vancouver spent nearly $1 billion in security for the 2010 games, while security for the 2015 Pan-Am games in Toronto came in at just over $200 million.

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READ MORE: Scott Hutcheson named chair of Calgary 2026 Olympic bid

The 2026 Olympic and Paralympic Assessment committee also heard from Scott Hutcheson, the chair of the BidCo. He said he will be resigning from the boards of a number of volunteer committees he sits on such as Winsport and Own the Podium.

“The big reason is I don’t want any perceived conflict of interest and I wouldn’t put myself in a conflict of interest position but perceptions everything.”

Hutcheson was appointed by the city, federal and provincial governments to the role last Thursday, and says the search continues for a CEO of the BidCo which has now been incorporated with the name Calgary 2026.