Tuesday, June 5, 2018

RECAP: 2026 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games Meeting - May 29

On May 29, the 2026 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games Assessment Committee met for the
third time to discuss the:

  • Plebiscite (vote of electors)
  • Public hearing
  • Vision update
  • Financial and value proposition update

Plebiscite: vote of the electorate
We are now working on the plebiscite questions and date. We discussed Vancouver’s question from the 2010 Olympic/Paralympic Winter Games and we’re considering more information within the plebiscite questions, to give more context. The Government of Alberta will also review the question(s).

In September 2018, we will provide a recommendation on the plebiscite question(s) and date. The timing of this announcement aligns with when we expect citizens will know the cost of the 2026 Games and who is committed to paying what amount.

This schedule allows citizens time to know and consider the information, so they can make an informed vote. We expect a high turnout at the plebiscite, based on statistics from past Calgary elections (58 per cent in the last municipal election).

Through summer and fall 2018, our responsibility is to communicate and promote the opportunities for citizens to participate in the public engagement events, including the plebiscite.

Public hearing
The committee voted against holding a formal public hearing and directed Administration to review what other options are available for committee members and Council to hear directly from citizens.

A public hearing is non-statutory; the committee would hear and consider all information, regardless if a majority of citizens presents a certain view on the 2026 Olympic/Paralympic bid. Council would then consider this information, when deciding on whether to bid on the 2026 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.

Ideas and considerations that surfaced between the committee and Administration:

  • Align all public engagement efforts.
  • Ensure citizens have the right information about the bid and the 2026 Games process, for an appropriate amount of time, before participating in the plebiscite.
  • Confirm a specific topic for public input (e.g. bidding on the 2026 Games, hosting the 2026 Games, etc.) for a hearing of the public.
  • Allow Council to hear from citizens, which can unveil what other goals and aspirations can be, or not be, realized through a bid.
  • Hosting just a plebiscite doesn’t explain the “why”.
  • Ensure Calgarians and Council have the right amount of information, before they decide whether Calgary bids.

Producing content will be one of our biggest challenges, as most of the information will be confirmed through early fall.

visioning exercise is underway to establish a vision, mission and values, which will be the foundation for the Bid Corporation’s potential bid. As one of the Bid Corporation’s (BidCo) members, we will ensure the vision reflects Calgary’s own vision and values, as they define what the 2026 Games could do for Calgary (and region), beyond just hosting the sporting event.

After two visioning sessions attended by all members of BidCo and a number of stakeholders, including representation from youth, business, sport, municipal government and indigenous people; a draft vision, mission and values was created. The committee identified a stronger involvement was required from the arts community, which will be included moving forward. The vision, mission and values will be released after the BidCo, Sport Canada and the Province of Alberta review them.

Financial and value proposition overview
Knowing the value and cost of the Games to Calgary helps Council and citizens determine if we should bid, which is based on five principles for pursuing the 2026 Games. We will do a cost-benefit analysis, which considers a number of items, based on if we choose to or not to host the 2026 Games:

  • Capital (construction, upgrades and maintenance of facilitates)
  • Operating costs
  • Risk, including mitigation strategies
  • Affordable housing
  • Economic activity and job creation
  • Tourism
  • Community involvement
  • Reputation

Most importantly, all Olympic infrastructure and facilities will be considered with Calgary’s existing infrastructure priorities and needs.

If Calgary chooses to submit a bid, it requires financial commitments from all levels of government. We expect Council to know the capital and operating cost estimate for hosting the 2026 Games in July 2018.

View the May 29 presentation.


There are lots of moving pieces on the 2026 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games bid project. We'll be publishing blog posts about the regular 2026 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games Assessment Committee meetings, to give you more insight into the work being done on the project.

The committee's purpose is to provide guidance to Administration, as we explore a potential 2026 Games bid. 

Committee Meeting Recaps
May 15 meeting recap

For more information about the Olympic bid project, visit calgary.ca/OlympicBid.

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