Edmonton could renew its bid for 2022 Commonwealth Games after Durban drops out

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Edmonton could renew its bid for 2022 Commonwealth Games after Durban drops out

Hope is alive again that Edmonton may host the 2022 Commonwealth Games after the city dropped its bid in February 2015 because it didn't have the financial support from provincial and federal governments.

On Monday, it was announced that the city slated to host the games — Durban, South Africa — withdrew from its commitment, citing similar financial restrictions.

Mayor Don Iveson called the news 'unfortunate' — Durban would have been the first African city to host the Commonwealth Games.

But it leaves the door open for Edmonton to make a last-ditch re-bid.

"It raises some interesting possibilities," Mayor Don Iveson said in response to the news.

"A lot more work would need to be done," he stressed. "The city could not undertake this alone — that was always an issue before."  

Iveson pointed out the pros and cons of hosting the Games with a shorter preparation time.

"The advantage is we have an awful lot of what we would need," he said. "We have a lot of the infrastructure in place or plan to be worked on."

The city had plans to upgrade the Kinsmen Sports Centre where aquatics events would be held and build an indoor velodrome and an athletes' village. Commonwealth Stadium in the city's northeast has been in use since it was built in 1978.

Iveson also expressed hope that the federal government has the "appetite" to host international events. But he said the city would have to consult the Liberal government before delving into another bid.

Calgary's bid for the 2026 Winter Olympics could also be a factor in the province's commitment to helping Edmonton host the Commonwealth Games.

Iveson said there may be new opportunities for Calgary, Edmonton and Red Deer to "work together on one or the other of these events."

A city committee was tasked with exploring these possibilities over the the next six months.

"This is one more curveball possibility for that group to look at," Iveson said.

The game-changer from Durban, the 2022 bid winner, comes just weeks after Edmonton asked for and was denied an extension in its subsequent bid for the 2026 Commonwealth Games.

Liverpool and Birmingham in the U.K. have also offered to host the 2022 Games.