Alberta exploring 2030 Commonwealth Games bid

Alberta has been selected by Commonwealth Sport Canada as a preferred candidate to bid to host the 2030 Commonwealth Games.

A group of partners – including the cities of Edmonton and Calgary, the province of Alberta, the Tsuut’ina Nation and the Canadian government – are studying the possibility and feasibility of a joint bid to host the Games.

The event would take place over 11 days in August 2030, with competitions and cultural events shared by Calgary, Edmonton, the Tsuut’ina Nation, the Bow Valley and other Alberta communities.

A group of athletes, business and sports leaders, the chief of the Tsuut’ina Nation, and the mayors of Calgary and Edmonton have been working together for three years to prepare a feasibility study for a bid to host the Games.

“We are very excited to enter a new phase of the bid exploration and this involves working with all levels of government, including the Tsuut’ina Nation,” said Roger Jackson, President and CEO of the Alberta 2030 Commonwealth Games Corp.

“To support this application work, we are contributing up to $2 million to support the application process,” said Alberta Secretary of Culture Jason Luan.

“If the bid is successful, the Commonwealth Games 2030 bid would bring the Games back to Alberta for the first time since 1978.”

Commonwealth Sport Canada would not disclose whether other nations had expressed an interest in bidding to host the Games.

“Tsuut’ina is pleased to offer our support for exploration of a 2030 Commonwealth Games bid,” said Roy Whitney, Chief of Tsuut’ina Nation. “Few things bring people together like sport, and the opportunity for reconciliation would be historic.

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“Not only is our sporting infrastructure strong, but so is the talent behind this effort. We hope this offer will be well received and look forward to sharing hosting opportunities.”

Jackson confirmed that facilities such as McMann Stadium, a field house in Calgary, Commonwealth Stadium, an indoor velodrome and bowling greens in Edmonton would be considered for venues, but upgrades may also be possible.

“From our point of view, it is important that the communities involved recognize which renovated projects or which new projects are a priority for the community.”

“Edmonton recognizes the importance of hosting major international events like these that not only bring people together to celebrate, but also have a lasting economic impact on our city and help enhance our global image,” said Edmonton Mayor Amarjeet Sohi .

“The City of Edmonton supports this collaborative effort to determine the feasibility of this joint bid for inclusive, sustainable 2030 Commonwealth Games that will build on our city’s successful sporting heritage.”

“We support conducting a feasibility study to determine whether a joint bid by Alberta to host the 2030 Commonwealth Games could result in significant investments in legacy infrastructure in both the Calgary and Alberta economies,” said the Calgary Mayor , Jyoti Gondek.

“Whenever we can pursue strategic partnerships and cost-sharing options to generate investment and enhance civic pride, it is important to engage with indigenous leaders, governments and community partners to explore these opportunities.”

According to Brian Soebbing, associate professor in the Department of Kinesiology, Physical Education and Recreation at the University of Alberta, joint applications are becoming more common.

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“The trend we are seeing at sporting events is joint applications. We certainly see that around the Men’s World Cup coming up in a couple of years – the joint venture between the USA, Mexico and Canada.”

“By and large, if you think about it in terms of Calgary and Edmonton, I think that’s a signal that two cities are trying to cooperate.

“It’s probably also what they’re thinking about using this together to seize the opportunity to not only promote the two biggest cities in the province, but also, in their opinion, the province.”

Soebbig says a bid acts as a catalyst for upgrading existing venues and building new venues.

“I would be shocked if the organizers or the cities themselves didn’t do anything in terms of upgrades or new, different facilities,” he said.

“If you think about these things, they add to the cost of hosting an event and all the things that come with promoting big sporting events.”

Explore Edmonton, a tourism and events management organization for the City of Edmonton, said it was nice to see the city’s rich history as a host of sporting events being recognized by Commonwealth Sport Canada in selecting Alberta as a preferred candidate.

“Edmonton is actively involved in this process and Explore Edmonton is working with the city and current bid partners, as well as our Indigenous partners in Contract 6, to advance exploration of a bid. As part of our efforts, we look forward to speaking with citizens and hearing their ideas on how an application could help us build our city,” the statement said.

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All partners will decide by August whether Canada should submit a formal bid. Bids must be submitted to the Commonwealth Games Federation by August 31, 2023.

On Wednesday afternoon, the Alberta Institute — a group that bills itself as a libertarian-leaning public policy think tank — and two community advocacy groups issued a press release urging the province to refuse taxpayer funding for the bid.

The 74 members of the international Commonwealth Games Federation (London) will decide on the host of the 2030 Games in November 2023.

The Commonwealth Games are held every four years, with participants from 74 nations and territories.

Victoria was the last Canadian host city in 1994.

— with files from The Canadian Press

© 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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