THE BIG PICTURE: 53% support Calgary’s Olympic bid for 2026

The coming referendum in Calgary (CAN) about the city’s candidature for the 2026 Olympic Winter Games is heating up.

According to the site, the Calgary bid committee will provide a Games “concept plan” to the public, which will include information on costs and sustainability.

Council member Evan Woolley said that “The host plan will be that value proposition: what are the costs? What are the risks? What are the rewards? All of those things (will) become available to Calgarians September 10.”

While the report is slated to be available to Council members about a week before, the September 10 date is the same day on which the Council has an “off-ramp” vote scheduled which could end the bid altogether.

Assuming the bid continues to the 13 November public referendum date, expect plenty of fireworks. According to a poll commissioned by the City, 53% currently support the bid effort, with 33% opposed and 13% undecided.

That’s good news for the Games supporters. But there are still concerns about costs, acknowledged by both the for-the-Games and against-the-Games activists.

The CBC reported Erin Waite, a spokeswoman for the group No Calgary Olympics, as saying “At some point, there’s got to be a value proposition where you understand the cost, the risks, cost overruns, contingency issues, as well as the benefits. Then you can make a decision for yourself.”

Both sides appear to agree on that.

Stephen Carter, a spokesman for Yes Calgary 2026, noted that “The entire time, we’ve talked about ‘not at any cost.’ In fact, I haven’t spoken to anybody who says we should do the Games regardless of the cost,” he said. “It needs to make sense to the city of Calgary.” Stay tuned!