City council will talk Tuesday about the next steps needed for a possible Olympic bid — including putting in more money and forming a bid corporation (BidCo).
Both moves are contingent on the federal and provincial governments agreeing to share the expected $30 million cost of a bid.
Commitments haven’t yet been received from the other orders of government, but a report to council says the city should be ready once that happens.
The report recommends releasing the remaining $1 million of a $2 million fund earmarked in November from the city’s Fiscal Stability Reserve.
The report also calls for a “robust public engagement plan” to be presented to council at the April 7 meeting along with a proposed reporting structure from the BidCo to council.
Mayor Naheed Nenshi says Calgarians will get the information they need around any proposed bid.
“It has to be actually based on, this is how much the feds are going to give the city, this is how much the province is going to give the city, this is how much the IOC is going to give the city, this is what the city is in for, and this is what we think the benefit will be,” he said.
Posted to the city’s website late Monday afternoon, the report says the city is still working to secure bid financing from the federal and provincial governments.
The BidCo will be made up of members from the city, province, and federal governments, along with the Town of Canmore and the Canadian Paralympic Committee.
“It is imperative to note that funding and incorporating a BidCo does not necessarily mean Calgary will formally bid for the 2026 OPWG but is a necessary step should the three orders of government and stakeholders decide to bid,” reads the report.
The cost of a bid is pegged 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.
Council was scheduled to discuss the report during a strategic meeting on Wednesday but opted to move that to Monday’s regular meeting. However, they won’t get to that item on the agenda until Tuesday due to time constraints.
Wrong report posted
An incorrect version of the report — which said the city had in fact secured funding from the provincial and federal governments and a bid committee should be formed — was posted to the city’s website on Friday, but was removed a day later.
Coun. Jyoti Gondek said mistakes like releasing the wrong report can erode the public’s trust in the process and more should be done to ensure transparency.
“That’s why I’m saying, let’s revisit the process, let’s make sure we’re giving support to the people working on this file,” she said.
“Let’s make sure we’re not burning them out. Mistakes are happening.”
Coun. Druh Farrell took to social media on Saturday to question whether the release of the wrong report was actually accidental.
Olympic update was inadvertently released to the media yesterday. This is the second accidental release of information. I don’t buy it. It’s unacceptable that Council continues to learn of key information on this massive project through the media. #yyccc #yyc
On Monday, she apologized for the online outburst.
“In hindsight, I regret implying that and I don’t believe that, I believe it was accidental,” she said. “Whether or not I agree with it, and whether I’m still angry about that is another question, but I wanted to apologize for implying that that was released intentionally.”
Culture and Tourism Minister Ricardo Miranda said Monday the province continues to have talks with the city and the feds since a fact-finding delegation attended the Pyeongchang Games, and that no decisions have been made.
“The conversations that have evolved since then is whether we will put a bid together, which is not whether we will get an Olympics in Calgary. It is a discussion about the bid itself and the different organizations that would be put together, for example, a bid committee.
“Albertans expect us to have a very prudent discussion about how we spend that money and so, we’re doing our due diligence. Part of that was going to the observer program and part of that is the ongoing discussions we’ve had with the city and the federal government.”
Coun. Jeromy Farkas contends the public engagement piece was only added as a way to stop a plebiscite.
“It just seems like now more than ever we’re barrelling down toward a pre-determined outcome and really getting railroaded down this path and I have to take exception with the fact that some members of council are being given more information, or less, than others,” he said.
Whether there’s enough time for a plebiscite on Calgary’s bid depends on who you ask.
Farrell told reporters on Monday that city councillors were informed over the weekend there won’t be enough time to hold a public vote on the matter.
But minutes later, Nenshi insisted there actually is.
“The timing is very tight because you need… four to six months to really set up a plebiscite properly, which means honestly, the earliest we could do it would be around early October, and the latest we could do it would be around early October, because after that, you get into the IOC’s decision-making process,” he said.
“I think there are probably better ways of public engagement than that.”
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Sherwood Park is a large hamlet in Alberta, Canada within Strathcona County that is recognized as an urban service area. It is located adjacent to the City of Edmonton’s eastern boundary, generally south of Highway 16 (Yellowhead Trail), west of Highway 21 and north of Highway 630 (Wye Road). Other portions of Sherwood Park extend beyond Yellowhead Trail and Wye Road, while Anthony Henday Drive (Highway 216) separates Refinery Row to the west from the balance of the hamlet to the east.
Sherwood Park was established in 1955 on farmland of the Smeltzer family, east of Edmonton. With a population of 70,618 in 2016, Sherwood Park has enough people to be Alberta’s seventh largest city, but technically retains the status of a hamlet. The Government of Alberta recognizes the Sherwood Park Urban Service Area as equivalent to a city.
Sherwood Park, originally named Campbelltown, was founded by John Hook Campbell and John Mitchell in 1953 when the Municipal District of Strathcona No. 83 approved their proposed development of a bedroom community east of Edmonton. The first homes within the community were marketed to the public in 1955. Canada Post intervened on the name of Campbelltown due to the existence of several other communities in Canada within the same name, so the community’s name was changed to Sherwood Park in 1956.
The Sherwood Park Urban Service Area is located in the Edmonton Capital Region along the western edge of central Strathcona County adjacent to the City of Edmonton. The majority of the community is bound by Highway 16 (Yellowhead Highway) to the north, Highway 21 to the east, Highway 630 (Wye Road) to the south, and Anthony Henday Drive (Highway 216) to the west. The Refinery Row portion of Sherwood Park is located across Anthony Henday Drive to the west, between Sherwood Park Freeway and Highway 16. Numerous developments fronting the south side of Wye Road, including Wye Gardens, Wye Crossing, Salisbury Village and the Estates of Sherwood Park, are also within the community. Lands north of Highway 16 and south of Township Road 534/Oldman Creek between Range Road 232 (Sherwood Drive) to the west and Highway 21 to the east are also within the Sherwood Park urban service area.