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Some councillors concerned Olympic funding details won’t meet timelines

A delegation from the City of Calgary traveled to the Pyeongchang Olympics as the Canadian city still considers a bid for the 2026 Games.
A delegation from the City of Calgary traveled to the Pyeongchang Olympics as the Canadian city still considers a bid for the 2026 Games. Reid Fiest/Global News

As Calgary launches its public engagement process into the potential bid for the 2026 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games, there are concerns about the timeline for when Calgarians will know what financial support each level of government will provide.

The government of Alberta said it will announce what it will provide on Oct. 13, one month before Calgarians vote in a plebiscite on whether to bid for the Games.

At Tuesday’s city council Olympic Assessment committee, Mayor Naheed Nenshi said he’s starting to get nervous about timing.

“We owe it to citizens to have this information in enough time to make a decision,” he said.

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Nenshi said there could be a situation where Calgarians would know how much the province would contribute — but not the federal government.

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“It would be a bit weird if the province sort of dropped the number with no context of any other numbers,” he said. “So we might have a few days or a week.”

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The mayor is hopeful the information will be available long before the plebiscite so residents will know what each level of government will provide.

LISTEN: Coun. Jeromy Farkas joins Rob Breakenridge to look at the Olympic bid finances that are and aren’t public

The city has also released a document detailing financial due diligence, where there may be extra costs in hosting the Games. That was brought into the spotlight after a leaked document reportedly showed there would be a cost if the bus barns were moved out the southeast community of Victoria Park to make way for an Athletes Village for the Games.

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READ MORE: Calgary 2026 Olympic bid public engagement process starts Monday

Coun. Jeromy Farkas said he wasn’t impressed with the financial due diligence summary released to committee, hoping to see more details.

“The financial summary that was released today was very heavy, let’s say on the summary and very light on the financials. It doesn’t really say a lot,” he said.

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Farkas wants the original information released to the public, understanding that sensitive financial information would be blacked out.

In the meantime, the city has unveiled its public engagement plan which will include a series of six open houses across Calgary and a chance for residents to provide feedback online until Oct. 28.