An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.
WHERE WERE YOU 10 years ago? The right answer is supposed to be: making memories with the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics.
To listen to the current hype, those Olympics were a defining moment in B.C.’s history and, true, they had a lot of fun moments. But it’s hard to get excited about a proposal to put in a bid for the 2030 Games.
It’s an idea based on reliving the glories of the past, but those glories belong to Vancouver and Whistler, not to the rest of B.C.
To be fair, the Vancouver Olympics Committee of 2010 did try to be inclusive of the rest of the province. Years before the Games were held — when the bid was still in progress — Kamloops became the first municipal government to officially endorse it.
Some artisans, craftspersons and contractors from around the province got work after the bid was successful but if you look around today there are no legacies of those Olympics outside the Lower Mainland.
Vancouver, of course, got the bulk of the economic benefit, and Whistler got most of the facilities. Those facilities form the core of the proposal to do it all over again. The fact many of the venues won’t have to be reconstructed is a plus.
But hosting the Winter Olympics again would still cost billions. In 2018, Calgary taxpayers voted against bidding for the 2026 Winter Olympics due, mainly, to the price tag — an estimated $5.1 billion.
So even if Vancouver could reduce that cost, it would still be staggering. Just putting in a bid costs millions. That’s why so few cities vie for the Games anymore.
There just isn’t enough in it — not for Vancouver or for the rest of the province — to justify trying.
I’m Mel Rothenburger, the Armchair Mayor.
Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops and newspaper editor. He writes five commentaries a week for CFJC Today, publishes the ArmchairMayor.ca opinion website, and is a director on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.