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Olympic engagement sessions set to begin ahead of November plebiscite

Olympic engagement sessions set to begin ahead of November plebiscite
WATCH: Calgary's plebiscite on a possible bid to host the 2026 Olympic and Paralympic Games is coming up in November, but are Calgarians ready to vote? Doug Vaessen shares details on upcoming public engagement sessions and discusses the draft plan with BidCo CEO Mary Moran.

The city of Calgary will announce details of its public engagement plan for a possible 2026 Olympic bid as early as tomorrow.

The Calgary 2026 bid corporation will host an open house starting Thursday with two sessions at Arts Commons to go over details on the bid ahead of the plebiscite on Nov. 13.

Last week, Calgary 2026 put forth a $5.2-billion draft hosting plan that asks for $3 billion in public money from the city, provincial and federal governments.

How that $3 billion would be split has yet to be announced.

READ MORE: Price tag of hosting 2026 Calgary Olympics would be $5.2 billion: bid corporation

READ MORE: Economist cautions 2026 Olympics could burden all Alberta taxpayers

In a controversial move, the draft plan didn’t include a new arena that would also serve as a new venue for the Calgary Flames. BidCo CEO Mary Moran said it was excluded in an effort to keep costs down.

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“IOC did come here and say that the Saddledome was adequate for the 50 days,” said Moran. “When you think about the winter sport cities that we’re competing against – both Italy and Sweden – they’re going to have good some good venues. So adding a large venue like that on to the cost is challenging. However, I would say that I hope that the city of Calgary and the Flames organization both have a different lens on it today and hopefully the Games can inspire those conversations.”

READ MORE: Sapporo drops bid for 2026 Winter Olympics following earthquake

“If we get a new arena in parallel with the Games, then we’ll reconfigure and ensure that we’re using that facility to maximize revenues for the community.”

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As for the plebiscite itself, advanced voting will be on Nov. 6 and Nov. 7 and mail-in voting beginning on Oct. 1.

For the first time in Calgary, electronic tabulators will be used in the vote.

-With files from Doug Vaessen