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Calgary Olympic hopes remain as council votes to continue bid process

March 21, 2018 5:02 AM
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Calgary Olympic hopes remain as council votes to continue bid process

Next step is to wait for word on funding from provincial and federal governments

Calgary's Olympic aspirations were kept alive Tuesday night as council voted to continue the bid process for the 2026 Games, with the next steps contingent upon the city receiving funding from the provincial and federal levels of government.

Should the city receive money from the other orders of government, a bid corporation (BidCo) will be formed, with members including the city, province and federal government along with the Town of Canmore and the Canadian Paralympic Committee.

The city will also release an additional $1 million from the Fiscal Stability Reserve which was approved in November 2017.

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The motion passed Tuesday also calls for a "robust public engagement plan" to be presented to a council committee April 10, along with a proposed reporting structure from the BidCo to council.

The cost of a bid is estimated at $30 million, with $10.5 million of that to come from the feds, $10 million from the province and $9.5 million from the city.

The city has already spent about $6 million on the process, Mayor Naheed Nenshi told reporters after the meeting Tuesday.

If the additional $1 million is released, another $2.5 million will be needed to cover Calgary's share.

Kyle Ripley, director of the city's bid committee, told council a final price tag for hosting the 2026 Olympics should be known in June. Initial estimates have pegged the cost around $4.6 billion.

Nenshi said he is "extraordinarily confident" the money will come from the province and feds, and a decision should come "soon-ish."

"We've had lots of conversations ... on this and I know there has been a lot of crossing of Ts and dotting of Is on what the agreement would look like, but I think with council's decision to move forward today, with that kind of commitment, that probably will get rid of any remaining barriers with the other governments," he said.

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