(ATR) The Hamilton 2026 bid team says there is too much work to do and it will miss an end of September deadline giving it exclusive rights to bid on the 2026 Commonwealth Games.
The Commonwealth Games Federation, which convinced Hamilton to pivot from 2030 to 2026 in April following the decision by Adelaide, Australia in September 2019 to withdraw its bid, had given the Canadian city until the end of September to secure local, provincial and federal support for the project.
The admission of the missed deadline was part of a letter sent by Hamilton 2026 chair Lou Frapportito Hamilton Mayor Fred Eisenberger and city council members that included detailed answers to nine questions raised during the bid team’s presentation on August 10.
The virtual presentation, described by Hamilton 2026 as an "information session" for the council, left some council members unhappy with the lack of details, chief among them the absence of a preliminary budget. They wanted to know the potential cost before giving their approval in principle for the bid.
The end of September deadline was also a bone of contention for some on the council, with Eisenberger telling the meeting "I think we should be working on our own timelines".
In his letter, Frapporti said Hamilton 2026 agrees with that point even though it will mean that the additional work to provide "adequate public consultation" means "we do not expect to return to Council with a proposal and a request for staff assessment until October".
Frapporti added that Hamilton 2026 has not asked the CGF for an extension to the exclusivity period "in order that we not further complicate their governance process or adversely impact their fiduciary duty to their global associations particularly in light of the fact, confirmed by independent news sources after the August 10th meeting, that other countries are in fact interested in hosting the 2026 Games".
"Having said that, we are confident that the issuance of a non binding letter of support in principle by the end of October will preserve this opportunity for the City of Hamilton allowing the city to further assess and deliberate upon the opportunity."
During the August 10 meeting, CGF CEO David Grevemberg said that India and Australia have expressed interest in 2026.
Should the council approve in principle a bid for the Games, the next step in the process would be hashing out a funding agreement between the federal, provincial and municipal governments.
Commonwealth Sport Canada CEO Brian MacPherson told the August 10 meeting that the federal government will back the bid if Ontario does. Hamilton 2026 president PJ Mercanti added that Ontario’s sports minister has told reporters that the province supports the bid in principle.
Written by Gerard Farek
For general comments or questions,click here.
Your best source of news about the Olympics is AroundTheRings.com, for subscribers only.