2022 Commonwealth Games in Victoria would cost $955M, bid group says
CTV Vancouver Island
Published Wednesday, August 16, 2017 6:41PM PDT
Last Updated Wednesday, August 16, 2017 6:43PM PDT
The group committed to bringing the 2022 Commonwealth Games to Victoria is asking for nearly one-billion dollars to do it.
In its proposal, the committee argues the long-term benefits to bringing the Games back to the Capital Region would be worth the steep investment.
“We’re talking about having 6,500 athletes and coaches here. That’s more than double what it was last time,” said David Black, the newspaper magnate spearheading the bid.
Black is counting on the public’s fond memories of 1994, when Victoria last hosted the international sporting event – but he’ll also need their tax dollars.
The bid committee is seeking $400-million from the federal government, $400-million from the province, and $25-million from local municipalities to pay for the Games.
It says it’ll also obtain $130-million from sponsorship deals, amounting to a total of $955-million, which does not include security costs.
The money would help pay for a laundry list of goodies including a new regional track-and-field stadium, another thousand-seat arena and a new pool.
It would also pay for a $60-million athlete’s village in Langford that would be converted to housing after the Commonwealth Games are over.
“We’re looking at each and every venue to be a potential training site for high-performance use as well as community use,” said Ken Shields of the bid team.
The committee says it has found favourable support for the bid in a telephone survey it conducted, with about 70 per cent of respondents saying they’d support the Games coming here.
But some taxpayer watchdog groups are already slamming the proposal, saying it’s not based in reality.
“How many illusions are behind this bid? There are many, and this magnitude of public expenditure cannot be based on illusions,” said John Treleaven of the group Grumpy Taxpayers.
The group points to security costs not included in the massive project and also claims there has been a lack of public transparency in the bid.
B.C.’s new NDP government has shown signs of support, but admits the timing of the bid isn’t great.
Durban, South Africa pulled out of the right to host the 2022 Games, which led to the current race for last-minute bids.
“Because it was taken away from another country that was going to do it, you’re now compressed into about four years which is a very short timeline to look at venues, to make sure that the dollars are looked at wisely,” said B.C. Finance Minister Carole James.
Black said the group will likely seek an extension to the Sept. 30 deadline to submit the bid.
Victoria is competing against Liverpool and Birmingham in England for the event.
With a report from CTV Vancouver Island's Chandler Grieve