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  • Razor-Thin Majority Backs Calgary Olympic Bid


    08/21/18

    (ATR) A survey conducted for the City of Calgary by Canadian pollster NRG Research Group finds 53 percent of Calgary’s residents support a 2026 Olympic bid with 33 percent opposed.
    Calgary 1988 opening ceremony (Getty Images)

    The remaining 14 percent of those questioned haven’t made up their minds yet.

    The poll has a 4.38 percent margin of error, so statistically it is possible that less than half of those questioned support efforts by the 1988 Olympics host city to try for 2026.

    Jason Ribeiro, an organizer with Yes Calgary 2026, called the poll’s findings “incredibly promising.”

    “There’s enough good evidence here to be able to use it as a good jumping off point to get at least an initial sentiment of where Calgarians are in response to this bid,” said Ribeiro to the Calgary Herald.

    The survey showed the overwhelming reason to oppose a bid is the costs associated with the Games. Seventy-three percent of those against it cited that as the biggest concern. Among those who support the bid, 33 percent admitted they were worried about the costs. In other words, the cost of hosting the 2026 Games is an issue among 48 percent of those with an opinion on the bid, positive or negative. 

    The continued lack of cost information is providing those opposed to the bid with plenty of ammunition.

    “With no information on the costs, contingency, risks, cost-sharing, and little clarity on a venue plan, it doesn’t appear Calgarians have anything behind which to place their support, much less their confidence,” says Dan Gauld, founder of NoCalgaryOlympics.

    The Calgary 2026 website went live on Tuesday. In the FAQ page, the response to cost questions was “We are committed to sharing numbers that we know are correct, reliable and accurate and are asking the public to be patient with us for a few more weeks while we finish our projections and estimates.”

    Detailed cost information was slated to be ready in June to coincide with the start of a public engagement campaign. The latter is now supposed to launch sometime in September, just weeks before the November 13 plebiscite that will determine if the bid moves forward.

    The Calgary City Council could end the bid before that, however. The Council has set a September 10 deadline to finalize funding commitments from the province of Alberta and the Canadian federal government.

    If the council is not happy with what they learn by the deadline, it can vote to end the 2026 bid at that point.

    Written by Gerard Farek and Edward Hula III

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