VANCOUVER (CityNews) — The man who helped bring the Winter Games to Vancouver more than a decade ago says we could do it all over again in 2030, sparking excitement and debate.
John Furlong made his pitch to the Vancouver Board of Trade Friday afternoon saying the event could run much cheaper by piggybacking on the developments from 2010.
“The premise for 2030 is rooted in the notion that we can and will use existing facilities and involve new communities,” he said.
Furlong says there are usable venues across the province and if communities are willing, he thinks a Vancouver bid could evolve into more of a regional one.
“It could be a B.C. games with no taxpayer money going into new venues,” he said. ” We believe we could see eight or nine communities participate. Some may need a little help with upgrades or infrastructure but it’s basically there.”
Tourism Vancouver sees a rough road ahead for the sector which is still reeling from the losses it’s seen throughout the pandemic, and is giving the idea a thumbs up.
“Rebuilding tourism is not the goal in and of itself but rebuilding tourism has to be part of the broader restart of the economy,” said spokesperson Royce Chsin. “I also like the opportunity to give confidence to investors.”
But not everyone is sold.
Vancouver City Councillor Jean Swanson says hosting the Olympics again would be at odds with the city’s environmental priorities, and she’d like to see the cash invested to fight homelessness or address any of the city’s most pressing issues. .
“Both the Olympics and Expo 86 made Vancouver a much more expensive place to live, and now we have a housing affordability crisis,” she said.
“To me, it sounds like a circus to distract everybody ”
She also said social housing commitments from the previous Olympics fell far short of expectations.
The province has yet to endorse the idea, which is a necessary step to move forward. The bid would also likely face some stiff competition.
“There’s talk Japan still wants it, Spain and Salt Lake,” Furlong said. “But we want to be the bid everybody’s scared of.”
According to Furlong, the 2010 games generated more than $1 billion in local development and attracted over 600,000 visitors to the region. Canada won a record-setting 14 gold medals on home soil, and a total of 26 medals.