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2030 Olympic Games in B.C. offers chance for reconciliation: bid leaders

Securing Vancouver 2030 Olympics would revive corporate funding: sports federations Article Image 0 Securing Vancouver 2030 Olympics would revive corporate funding: sports federations Article Image 0 - The Canadian Press

VANCOUVER — The opportunity for the 2030 Olympics to be hosted in British Columbia offers a chance for reconciliation, Indigenous leaders said as the organizing group behind the bid released its estimate of staging the event.

The Indigenous-led group, made up of the Lilwat, Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh Nations, said the cost for hosting the event could range from $3.5 to $4 billion, blending a mix of public and private funds.

Mary Conibear, with the 2030 Feasibility Team, said in order for the event to be financially and environmentally sustainable the group is proposing to use many of the same venues from the 2010 Winter Olympics.

The four Indigenous nations announced on Feb. 1 that they had signed an agreement with the City of Vancouver, the Resort Municipality of Whistler, the Canadian Olympic Committee and the Canadian Paralympic Committee to explore a bid.

“We know the public is eager to hear what the cost of the 2030 Games will be, and I hope that the financial estimates are reassuring that it is not only feasible to host these Games, but it is beneficial to all of our communities,” said Wayne Sparrow, Chief of the Musqueam Nation, in a statement.

It would be the first Indigenous-led bid for an Olympic Games.

“We have heard from our people that sport is medicine. That sport has the power to heal us, and inspire us and provide hope for the future. This is the opportunity surrounding sport and development,” said Dennis Thomas-Whonoak, Tsleil-Waututh Nation Olympic technical team lead and elected council member.

The 2030 Olympics would feature some different locations from its 2010 incarnation, including utilizing Vancouver’s Hastings Park and moving events from Cypress Mountain to Sun Peaks near Kamloops.

Conibear said the move from Cypress is being done in response to climate change and issues that occurred during the 2010 Games where a lack of snow on the mountain forced the rapid production of artificial snow.

Debate over hosting the Olympics has been brewing in Vancouver, where in April its city council voted down calls for a plebiscite on the matter.

When asked about support from various levels of government, Andrew Baker, the vice president of International Relations and Public Affairs with the Canadian Olympic Committee, said discussions are still ongoing.

“The next step is to propose and make formal funding proposals to senior levels of government,” he said.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 8, 2022.