Funding Issue Threatens Calgary 2026 Bid

(ATR) A provincial government budgetary decision is a setback for Calgary as city council mulls an Olympic bid.

CALGARY, AB - OCTOBER 6: A general view of the exterior of the Scotiabank Saddledome with the Calgary skyline behind prior to the Flames' home opening NHL game against the Vancouver Canucks during at Scotiabank Saddledome on October 6, 2013 in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. (Photo by Derek Leung/Getty Images)
CALGARY, AB - OCTOBER 6: A general view of the exterior of the Scotiabank Saddledome with the Calgary skyline behind prior to the Flames' home opening NHL game against the Vancouver Canucks during at Scotiabank Saddledome on October 6, 2013 in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. (Photo by Derek Leung/Getty Images)

(ATR) A decision by the provincial government of Alberta on whether to help Calgary fund a bid committee for a possible 2026 Winter Games bid may turn out to not be needed.

The city is currently waiting on the provincial government and the Canadian federal government to decide if they will each cover about a third of the CAN$30 million cost of the bid corporation. Calgary city council has already approved its CAN$9.5 million portion of the bill.

The problem is that a separate decision by the provincial government last week could leave Calgary with less money to spend on projects like an Olympic Games.

As part of its efforts to create a balanced budget by 2023, the provincial government is calling for a CAN$91 million cut in grant funding to the city of Calgary in its latest budget.

Calgary’s city economist Clyde Pawluk, writing in the city’s monthly inflation review, says "The significant shortfall in the City of Calgary’s income will limit what municipal projects can be undertaken in the near and distant future, and bodes ill for any possible Olympics bid."

Calgary city councillor Ward Sutherland, one of those who voted in favor last Tuesday of keeping the bid alive by a narrow 8-6 margin, tells the Calgary Herald he may have voted differently had he known about the provincial government funding cuts beforehand.

"It definitively throws a wrench into our finances in general because this wasn’t expected. We’re going to have to now take away from other projects in order to deal with these payments. In that respect, yeah, it could definitely affect the Olympics."

Calgary Ski Jumping Venue to Close

The ski jumping facilities built for Calgary 1988 will be decommissioned in October.

The Calgary Herald reports WinSport, the non-profit organization that owns the facilities, has determined the CAN$500,000 annual cost to maintain the structures is no longer worth the investment and there is no money for the 30-year-old jumps to be upgraded.

A WinSport spokesman says that should Calgary win the bid for the 2026 Olympics, the organization would be interested in hosting the ski jumping but that "it would be a complete rebuild and not just a renovation" to get the venue in shape for another Winter Games.

Written by Gerard Farek

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