Premier John Horgan and the B.C. government are still waiting for more information from the Canadian Olympic Committee before making a financial commitment to support the 2030 Winter Olympics in Vancouver and Whistler.
In an interview with Global News, Horgan says the province has not committed to funding the Olympic bid yet.
The local organizing committee is led by the four Indigenous communities and is working alongside the Canadian Olympic Committee on the bid.
“I am a sports guy and I would be predisposed to say yes right away. But I am five years into the job of having to manage different interests,” Horgan said.
“It would be irresponsible of me to make a significant multiple million dollar investment without seeing what the final consequences would be.”
The organizing committee recently released a comprehensive financial plan leaving taxpayers responsible for about $1 billion to $1.5 billion of an estimated $4 billion total cost.
The committee has budgeted to cover between $2.4 billion and $2.8 billion covering the cost of planning, organizing, and operations.
These costs will be paid for through a share of the International Olympic Committee’s broadcast and sponsorship revenues, domestic sponsorship, ticketing, merchandise and other sources.
The local organizing committee says the bid offers a chance for reconciliation.
The Indigenous-led group, made up of the Líl̓wat, Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh Nations, is optimistic the province will come on board with support.
“We are listening to our people. We are listening to our communities. This includes our respective First Nations communities and the broader community,” Squamish Nation elected councillor Wilson Williams said.
“All the comparison in on 2010. The cost will not be the same. We are going to strategize. We know what the road ahead is. We didn’t expect a smooth sailing road. It is different. It is Indigenous-led and first of its kind.”
The federal government has not committed any money either and will be waiting for the province to make a commitment before making a final decision.
Vancouver city council will be considering a report on Wednesday questioning whether the current bid is feasible.
Deputy city manager Karen Levitt wrote in the report there is not enough time to negotiate a good deal before the end of the year with the Canadian Olympic Committee.
The concerns raised in the report mirror many of the same concerns raised by Horgan.
“It is the view of staff that the proposed timeline to submit a bid as currently constituted is not achievable,” the report reads.
Because the eventual funding and indemnification model for the 2030 Winter Games has not yet been determined, staff cannot at the time of this report provide Council with even an order-of-magnitude estimate of the financial implications of hosting the Games.”
The big taxpayer expense will be security, which is currently estimated at between $560 million and $583 million.
The committee is also looking at legacy projects, including venues and housing.
The provincial and federal investment would also include between $299 million and $375 million for venues and between $165 million to $267 million for First Nations housing.
The Canadian Olympic Committee is hoping to have the four First Nations, Vancouver and Whistler as well as the provincial government on board before moving to the international bidding stage in December 2022.
“If the Canadian Olympic Committee says we are moving too slowly then maybe they should pass and let someone else do it. We want to do it right. We are not prepared to sign a blank cheque,” Horgan said.
“We have got a lot of questions left outstanding to the bid committee. The four First Nations may have some more ideas on how they can participate. And the City of Vancouver is interested now but there is some road down the track. There is an election in the fall.”