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Sport may be key to B.C.'s economic recovery, Horgan says

BC Place as seen from the NEWS 1130 Air Patrol Dec. 23, 2020 (Riley Phillips, NEWS 1130 photo)

B.C. Premier John Horgan is reconsidering Vancouver as a FIFA World Cup host city

Horgan hopes the BC Lions can emerge from the pandemic as good as new

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — Vancouver could be back in the running as a FIFA World Cup host city, and the COVID-19 pandemic might have something to do with it.

Speaking to Sportsnet 650, B.C. Premier John Horgan says his thinking on the subject has evolved considerably over the course of the pandemic.

“The prospect of utilizing our publicly owned stadium, which has just been refurbished a few years back… for hundreds of millions of dollars, to use that facility to welcome the world to British Columbia in Vancouver in 2026 is a much better idea today than it was in 2018.”

Horgan also says he hopes the local CFL team, the BC Lions, can emerge as good as new from the pandemic, but he says it’s too early to tell how the province can help.

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“I don’t want to sugarcoat anything here, they know that better than I do. But first order of business is to get the season underway, and then we can start looking at where there might be places where the province could assist.”

Horgan is hopeful a local group can emerge to take over the team, following the death of owner David Braley late last year. The Lions’ home opener is set for Aug. 19 at BC Place.

Meanwhile, speaking to the current wildfire threat across the province, Horgan says he’s confident the tourism industry can withstand the storm, but admits the season is far from over.

“People are making their choices about where to go and to help the economy, and smaller companies that aren’t being hit by fires at the moment. We haven’t seen a tunnel of smoke coming into the Lower Mainland. That’s good news, but it’s middle of July, and we’ve got six hard weeks ahead of us and no prospect of rain.”