Tuesday will mark an important milestone in the development of British Columbia’s potential bid for the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games as the completed feasibility study is delivered to First Nations leaders.
A memorial ceremony is planned in Whistler with representatives from Lil̓wat7úl (Líl̓wat), xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish) and səl̓ilw̓ətaʔɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) First Nations as well as partners from the City of Vancouver, Resort Municipality of Whistler, Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) and Canadian Paralympic Committee (CPC). With an initial hosting concept in hand, partners will enter a concept review phase that will allow teams to launch a community engagement program.
Later, a full evaluation of the project will be carried out among the partners leading to a decision on whether or not to pursue a bid to host the 2030 Games in British Columbia, the first to be led by indigenous peoples.
The COC is already engaged in the IOC Ongoing Dialogue phase of the Winter Games Candidature Process which offers interested parties a chance to explore the opportunity to host without any firm commitments. Among those known to be in discussion are Salt Lake City in the United States, Sapporo in Japan and a Barcelona and Pyrenees project in Spain.
The IOC has not set a timetable for the host city election, but last month officials said they planned to nominate a final round of candidates as early as December 7 this year with a possible final election. at a session of all members scheduled for 30 May. Next year.
In April, Vancouver City Council deflected a possible motion to hold a plebiscite on the Olympic bid when Mayor Kennedy Stewart insisted that such action would violate a memorandum of understanding signed with partner First Nations. But with municipal elections coming up in October and public engagement expected to take place over the summer, the public will have an important voice in any decision to pursue a candidacy. A future public vote is not yet on the table.
Salt Lake City enjoys very strong public support with recent polls showing over 80% in favor of hosting future Games. Last week, the Sapporo Municipal Assembly voted against holding a referendum, with the ruling party suggesting recent polls are enough evidence of public support. Referendums had been planned in the Catalan region of Spain for Barcelona’s bid, but were postponed indefinitely last month after partners failed to agree on the allocation of venues and the project collapsed.
Sapporo has already released preliminary plans and begun public engagement in its search for a follow-up to the Games it first hosted in 1972. Salt Lake City has recently stepped up its campaign efforts by partnering to Olympic champions Lindsey Vonn and Eileen Gu with a delegation set to visit the IOC headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland later this month.
A COC Feasibility Team spokesperson recently said GamesBids.com that there are currently no plans for a BC 2030 delegation to visit Lausanne.