Vancouver council mulling first steps toward possible 2030 Olympic bid

Amy Smart
·2 min read

Vancouver's council is being asked to consider taking the first small steps toward hosting another Olympic Games.

Council will consider a motion Wednesday to write letters to the Canadian Olympic Committee, Canadian Paralympic Committee and four local First Nations seeking input on a possible bid for the 2030 Winter Games.

Coun. Melissa De Genova said she put the motion forward early this year but the meeting was derailed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

She was "a little surprised" to see it back on the agenda but still thinks it's worth considering, she said.

"I was in no hurry to bring it back myself after the pandemic, we certainly have priorities as we move into our budget," she said.

"That being said, I'm starting to see the benefits this may have, you know, as we look toward COVID-19 economic recovery for the city."

The motion is not a vote on whether to make a bid, she emphasized, only to explore the option.

"It's a cautious step forward to consider this and it all starts with engaging with the four host nations and our regional partners that were part of the 2010 Olympics," she said.

If the motion passes, Mayor Kennedy Stewart would also pen letters on behalf of council to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Premier John Horgan asking if the federal and provincial governments would contribute funding for the bid, including money for potential infrastructure projects.

De Genova said part of the momentum for the motion came from the "nostalgia" generated by the 10th anniversary celebrations of the 2010 Games in Vancouver.

As a recent host, Vancouver already has much of the infrastructure required for the Olympics.

Hosting another Games could help leverage funding for things like more affordable housing and transit expansion. If it creates another 2,500 jobs, as the 2010 Olympics did, that could be a significant economic driver, De Genova said.

"It's our job to make sure that we leave no stone unturned when looking for opportunities for economic recovery," she said.

De Genova also noted that 2030 was selected as a date for consideration before the pandemic and that might change. There are many unknowns without a vaccine yet for COVID-19.

If both senior levels of government agree to consider providing funding, council would direct city staff to do further study on the costs and other factors. They would also be asked to report on recommendations to council, including on whether a referendum should be held to gauge local support.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 3, 2020.

Amy Smart, The Canadian Press