Whether it’s costs, infrastructure, avoiding scandal or other issues, Calgary’s mayor says no what comes up with a possible bid for the 2026 Olympics, it’ll be done right.
In an interview with Sportsnet 960 The Fan a day after council voted in favour for a feasibility study on a possible bid, Nenshi promised a thorough and transparent process.
“I’ll be very, very blunt with you, this is an opportunity if we move forward with this bid for us to export Calgary and Canadian values into this process,” he said. “It means we’re going to do it clean, we’re going to do it honestly.”
Nenshi was referencing both the increasing costs of hosting, but also the recent scandals behind cities and the International Olympic Committee, which one councillor called corrupt.
“We’re going to see if you can actually go far in this process with a bid that is clean and honest and ethical,” he said. “If it’s impossible to do that in a way that is clean, honest and ethical, we’ll stop.”
Despite the cost associated with hosting the Olympics – the Vancouver Games cost over $7 billion – Nenshi said low interest rates make it an attractive time to build new infrastructure.
“Finding the funding for LRT extension to the airport would be incredibly hard without a catalyst event like this, so there’s a real opportunity there for economic and social development,” he said.
When asked about any possible impact on the CalgaryNEXT project, Nenshi said while the idea of having two major arenas – necessary for an Olympic bid – is in mind, these are independent projects.
“We are certainly not going to make a decision on a new hockey arena based on the Olympic bid or vice-versa,” he said. “I really think that the CalgaryNEXT proposal has to stand on its own two feet or whatever proposal we end up with.”