Vancouver city council to discuss bid for 2030 Olympics

·2 min read

Vancouver city councillors are set to discuss a motion that, if passed, would fire the starting pistol on a bid to host another Olympic Games.

Coun. Melissa De Genova tabled a motion in April pushing for the city to become a candidate for the 2030 Winter Olympics, but due to the pandemic, it will finally be discussed on Wednesday.

She said a second Winter Games would be another boost to the city after the success of the 2010 Olympics, and could be part of a post-pandemic economic recovery plan.

"[Pandemic recovery is] something our council has spent a lot of time talking about, and if the Olympics [are] a way forward there, I don't want to see us leave that opportunity behind, or regret not moving forward with it."

Jon Hernandez/CBC
Jon Hernandez/CBC

De Genova's motion is a journey back in time, filled with details of the Winter Olympics in Vancouver and Whistler in February 2010, which gave the region new facilities and infrastructure, but also pride at hosting a successful Games.

The cities also hosted the Paralympic Games the following month.

De Genova's motion cites a PricewaterhouseCoopers report that said the lead-up to the Games resulted in more than 20,000 jobs and generated between $70.2 million and $91.9 million in federal tax revenues and as much as $1.05 billion in real gross domestic product.

"We shouldn't leave any stone unturned when we look at the opportunities [another Games] could bring," she said.

However, some councillors are already saying they're not interesting in putting energy or resources toward another Olympics for the city.

The Canadian Press
The Canadian Press

"I don't think we should be talking about the 2030 Olympics right now. Vancouver is already facing some significant challenges," said Coun. Christine Boyle.

As well as dealing with the pandemic, the city is struggling to meet housing needs and to deal with some of the worst opioid overdose numbers in the country.

In 2010, Jean Swanson was a poverty advocate who protested against the Games. Now a city councillor, she says the event made Vancouver unaffordable after it drove up property values.

She wants council to focus on solutions to current problems.

"If we spent the same amount of money that was being spent on the Olympics on ending poverty and homelessness, we could do it," Swanson said.

Marcio Sanchez/The Associated Press
Marcio Sanchez/The Associated Press

De Genova's motion does not discuss how much it would cost to bid for the 2030 Games. If passed, the motion would aim to develop partnerships and request funding from other levels of government.

The motion says if the province and federal government commit to funding then a referendum should be conducted to "poll the support of Vancouver residents and property owners," for the city to host another Games.