Calgary city council has voted to keep the Olympic bid process alive.
The vote passed by a 9-6 margin after two hours of debate, reaffirming council’s “support for the investigation of a bid by Calgary for the 2026 Olympic and Paralympic Games.”
It passed with an amendment proposed by Coun. Shane Keating to establish a subcommittee, made up of four councillors and the mayor, which would oversee the Olympic process moving forward. The committee would be chaired by a councillor rather than the mayor.
Councillors Ward Sutherland and Diane Colley-Urquhart were both among the councillors who voted in favour of the motion after signalling last week that their support for keeping the bid process alive had waned.
Mayor Naheed Nenshi and councillors Keating, George Chahal, Jeff Davison, Evan Woolley, Gian-Carlo Carra and Ray Jones also voted in favour of the motion.
Councillors Joe Magliocca, Jyoti Gondek, Sean Chu, Druh Farrell, Jeromy Farkas and Peter Demong voted against.
Olympic athletes, sports organizations and business leaders mobilized last week, urging city hall skeptics not to abandon an Olympic bid yet. Nenshi called the campaign “a huge waking up of what I think is the silent majority in this city.”
Much of the debate at council on Monday morning concerned “missteps” by the city since it began exploring a potential bid, as well as whether there has been sufficient public engagement to this point to warrant taking the “off-ramp” presented by Monday’s vote.
“When you try to do something different, when you try to do something innovative and transparent, you end up making your sausage in public and sometimes people don’t like the hotdog,” Nenshi said.
“But ultimately I think that’s better. Do I in some ways feel like there’s been a lot of headaches that could’ve been avoided through a more traditional process? Absolutely. But is it the right thing to do if we’re truly serious about reform and modelling that kind of behaviour to the IOC? I think so.”
Sutherland stated last week on social media that he planned to vote to discontinue the Olympic bid, citing “a moving target” by the IOC. But he said what changed his mind was the assurance that the city would be spending less than $1 million to find out the true cost of hosting the Games by June.
“There’s been a lot of misinformation of how much it’s really going to cost and what are the benefits. It all depends if we get …read more