'The dream is over': Victoria's 2022 Commonwealth Games bid tanked by province
B.C. Finance Minister Carole James announced in a statement that the province won't contribute funding to a 2022 Commonwealth Games bid, effectively stopping it in its tracks. Aug. 24, 2017. (YouTube)
CTV Vancouver Island
Published Thursday, August 24, 2017 4:16PM PDT
Last Updated Thursday, August 24, 2017 4:23PM PDT
The province has shot down any hope of Victoria hosting the 2022 Commonwealth Games.
B.C. Finance Minister Carole James announced in a statement Thursday that while the government appreciated the bid effort, spearheaded by media magnate David Black, it couldn’t commit to funding because there were too many uncertainties.
“We have analyzed the bid committee's work and see that too many details remain unknown to fully understand the costs, obligations and risks associated with hosting such a large-scale event,” James said.
She went on to cite questions marks surrounding the bid, including revenue commitments, venue locations, costs for security – which weren’t including in the bid committee’s cost estimate – and any added costs like transit, infrastructure and health services for athletes.
The committee was seeking nearly $955-million to host the Games, including $400-million from the province and another $400-million from the federal government.
Black told CTV News Thursday that the province’s announcement has stopped the bid dead in its tracks.
“The dream is over,” he said. “We cannot continue without the province’s support. I think we are missing a huge opportunity.”
Commonwealth Games decision comes on the same day bid team releases video featuring Olympians https://t.co/imOXjIe9bb— Chandler Grieve (@CTVNewsChandler) August 24, 2017
Last week, the bid committee argued the long-term benefits from the Games would be worth the sharp price tag, saying it would help pay for a new track-and-field stadium, another thousand-seat arena and a new pool for the Capital Region.
Taxpayer watchdog groups were quick to criticize the proposal, saying there wasn’t enough concrete information for a project of this magnitude.
In the end, the government agreed, with James saying the government is dealing with too many other crises including one of B.C’s worst wildfire seasons in history to pony up money for the event.
She didn’t rule out that B.C. could host the Games in the future, though.
“The Commonwealth Games have a long history of promoting sport and inspiring communities,” James said. “I expect B.C. communities will bid for future Games, such as the 100th anniversary in 2030. The province will happily consider those proposals when there is more time to do the work necessary to protect B.C. taxpayers from financial uncertainty.”
The bid was considered last-minute because Durban, South Africa pulled out of the right to host the 2022 Games.
Both Liverpool and Birmingham in England are the two remaining cities in the running for the event.