Plans for Vancouver to launch a bid to host the 2030 Winter Olympic Games are set to be discussed at a public meeting in the Canadian city on Wednesday (November 4).
Vancouver City Council chiefs are poised to consider the feasibility of a bid which was scheduled to be debated in April only to be put on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The move comes after John Furlong, the former chief executive and President of Vancouver 2010, called on the city to throw its hat in the ring in February.
Since then, Canada has been gripped by a global health crisis with 237,000 cases and more than 10,000 deaths from coronavirus.
But councillor Melissa De Genova, who is behind the motion, believes the staging of the Winter Olympics will help the city bounce back.
She also feared it would be a “missed opportunity” if the council did not get behind a bid which could face competition from Pyrenees-Barcelona in Spain, Japanese city Sapporo and Salt Lake City in the United States.
“As a city councillor, I see it as my duty and responsibility to leave no stone unturned, and consider all opportunities to bring benefits to our city, and the catalyse the prosperity of our residents,” De Genova told Daily Hive Urbanized.
“More now than ever, I think we need to look at every single opportunity we have to support our economy. I would hope that my fellow city councillors and the mayor will look at this from the angle of offering new economic opportunities.
“This could be a missed opportunity if we don’t move forward with this.”
Furlong also believes “the case is better today than it was in February” due to the “very low” morale in the coronavirus-hit country.
“There’s not a lot of hopeful thinking going on, and Governments are reaching for ideas,” said Furlong.
“The expectation is we will overcome this, but people aren’t sure how we will do that.”
Furlong added the 2030 Games could “lift the city” and “leave some really positive legacies”.
“If ever we needed a spiritual lift, an emotional lift, or a hopeful lift, it’s now,” said Furlong.
“If we were to go into this and achieve this, we’d have more time to do it — we’d have a longer window in which to really take advantage of the power of something like this to get people excited, get our confidence back, and rehabilitate our morale.”
With six venues built for Vancouver 2010, Furlong felt it was a “rare” opportunity to “use the infrastructure of 2010 to our advantage”.
“It would be the first time a country would go in and say, ‘we actually have a plan’,” said Furlong on the prospect of presenting a bid to the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
“The Games can be done really responsibly.”
Speaking in January, IOC President Thomas Bach suggested a decision on the host for the 2030 Winter Games could be made swiftly after being impressed by Sapporo’s bid.
But the Daily Hive Urbanized understands the winner might not be announced until 2022.
Furlong insisted the “more time you have, the better” as he hopes to secure an early victory to give Vancouver plenty of time to prepare.
“It takes a lot to do it,” Furlong said.
“But we are in this very unique place where we not only have the facilities, but also people to do it, the expertise in town, and very seasoned businesses, Government, and tourism professionals.
“Vancouver and the region has been trained for this, so essentially we’d be dusting off our credentials, starting again, and using it to achieve the next level of good.”
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