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Province, federal government agree to consider revamped funding proposal for Calgary Winter Olympics bid

Calgary’s Olympic Bid Corporation has an agreement from all levels of government that they’ll consider a funding proposal BidCo put forth on the 2026 Winter Games, one they’re calling a “good deal for Calgarians.”

The agreement was struck Tuesday evening after ongoing discussions. It’s based on a total public funding request of $2.875 billion in 2018 dollars. The city’s portion of this deal is $520 million, plus an insurance redemption amount of $200 million, which would cover a defined contingency, a release on the matter stated.

The province is still at $700 million and the feds said they would kick in $1.423 billion in matching financial commitments, plus $30 million of leverage initiatives from the hosting plan.

The money is less than the original $3 billion previously stated from other levels of government and bumps the city’s potential contribution up to $720 million, though some is in the form of $150 million in pre-authorized Victoria Park and Stampede Park access improvements in conjunction with the province.

The agreement isn’t set in stone, though it sets out the parameters for a funding agreement. According to the Bid Corporation letter, the agreement is merely that this funding deal be considered.

This comes hours after the city’s Olympic Bid Assessment Committee voted unanimously to refer recommendations to council to end the pursuit of an Olympic bid. A decision to kill the bid would also eliminate the Nov. 13 plebiscite.

“This is a proposal that makes sense and is a good deal for Calgarians. I’m confident we and our government partners can agree to move forward and reach an agreement in principle,” said Scott Hutcheson, board chair of the Calgary 2026 Bid Corporation (BidCo), in a prepared release.

“I know City Council understands how important this is to Calgary, that they know what’s at stake here, and that they will show their strong leadership and allow Calgarians to decide the outcome of the Olympic and Paralympic bid at a plebiscite November 13. These will be Canada’s Games, Calgary’s choice.”

Earlier Tuesday, Coun. Evan Woolley, chair of the city’s Olympics bid assessment committee, brought forward the recommendations after councillors spent four hours behind closed doors mulling next steps. In today’s committee meeting Woolley said that without a funding agreement in place, he felt they couldn’t responsibly move forward with a bid.

Councillors will still be considering the referral motion Wednesday, and a 10-vote super majority is needed to reconsider council’s past direction, which, in general terms, was to pursue Calgary’s Olympic bid.