Public support for Vancouver 2030 bid waning, according to new poll of British Columbians

Researchers say “the COVID-19 pandemic and the recent experience of Tokyo as a host city” appear to be reasons for the slide.

Vancouver, British Columbia hosted the 2010 Winter Olympics. (ATR)
Vancouver, British Columbia hosted the 2010 Winter Olympics. (ATR)

Support for a potential Vancouver bid for the 2030 Olympics appears to be dropping sharply with the pandemic at least partly to blame.

A new online survey of British Columbia residents found only 43 percent support a bid to host the Winter Olympics in nine years. That’s a drop of 17 points from a similar poll conducted in January of 2020, just before the pandemic.

A possible bid to host the Summer Games in 2036 suffered an even steeper decline, from 62 percent in favor in January 2020 to 38 percent in the latest survey, which was carried out October 18-20.

Both polls were conducted by Vancouver-based Research Co.

“The events of the past couple of years, including the COVID-19 pandemic and the recent experience of Tokyo as a host city, appear to have made British Columbians more skeptical about a new Olympic bid,” says Mario Canseco, President of Research Co., said in a statement.

The new survey, which included 800 adults who live in the province, also found that 53 percent think it is impossible to host the 2030 Winter Games without any public or government funds.

The various levels of government contributed CAN$363.8 million (US$293.9 million) when Vancouver hosted the 2010 Olympics. The Games broke even with total revenues and expenses just shy of CAN$1.9 billion (US$1.54 billion).

Vancouver 2010 cauldron (ATR)
Vancouver 2010 cauldron (ATR)

Similar to its potential fellow 2030 rivals Salt Lake City and Sapporo, Vancouver could take advantage of existing venues and slopes, and build upon its legacy from just 11 years ago.

The Vancouver city council is interested in hosting another Games but says Vancouver won’t be leading the bid process, leaving the workload up to the Canadian Olympic Committee.

The COC continues to express significant interest, initially declaring that it would not fully dedicate itself to the bid until after the Tokyo 2020 Games.

However, the COC now says its focus is on preparing Beijing 2022 and it will most likely not get around to the bid until next year. But when it does, Vancouver will be Canada’s candidate of choice.

John Furlong, the former organizing committee leader from the 2010 Games, says that a process of finding a local government in British Columbia to front the 2030 bid is ongoing, as is the effort to make a possible bid much more regional in scope than in 2010.

Besides Salt Lake City and Sapporo, Ukraine and Spain have also expressed interest in hosting the Winter Olympics in 2030.