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Victoria Commonwealth Games Bid Scrapped after Province Refuses to Support

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Opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Games at Centennial Stadium, Aug. 18, 1994. Photo: Times Colonist

Victoria’s bid to host the 2022 Commonwealth Games is over after the Provincial Government in British Columbia announced it would not support it.

It means that the bid will have to be dropped because without the support of British Columbia it will not be feasible.

“The dream is over,” David Black, the leader of Victoria’s bid, said.

“We cannot continue without the Province’s support.

“I think we are missing a huge opportunity.”

Victoria 2022 were seeking nearly $755 million to host the Games, including $316 million from the Province and another CAD$400 million from the Federal Government.

“I would like to thank the Bid Committee for its incredible effort in preparing the 2022 Commonwealth Games proposal in such a short period of time,” Carole James, the Finance Minister of British Columbia, said in a statement.

“While we appreciate the energy and passion of the Bid Committee, we cannot make a commitment to support the bid through direct funding, nor can we provide a financial shortfall guarantee.

“We have analyzed the Bid Committee’s work and see that too many details remain unknown to fully understand the costs, obligations and risks associated with hosting such a large-scale event.

“Those include commitments from the Federal Government and Local Governments, commitments on revenues from the Games, finalized venue locations, costs for security and emergency response, as well as any added costs to the Province, like transit, transportation infrastructure and health services that would come with the influx of athletes, coaches, dignitaries and visitors.

“Our Government was elected with a very clear set of priorities.

“Those priorities are helping communities impacted by the wildfires and those suffering from the opioid crisis, focusing on making life more affordable for British Columbians and adding to long-term economic growth throughout the Province.

“The Commonwealth Games have a long history of promoting sport and inspiring communities.

“I expect B.C. communities will bid for future Games, such as the 100th anniversary in 2030.

“The Province will happily consider those proposals when there is more time to do the work necessary to protect B.C. taxpayers from financial uncertainty.”

Earlier in the day, Victoria 2022 had released a video featuring some of Canada’s top athletes backing their bid.

They were seeking to become the first Canadian city to host the Commonwealth Games since they had hosted it in 1994.

“I’m terribly disappointed,” Black, a businessman and owner of Canada’s largest private publisher Black Press, said.

“I thought it was an enormous opportunity for Victoria and it really would help build the city.”

Hosting the Games would have brought almost $799 million to Greater Victoria – and local taxpayers would pay less than two per cent of that amount, Black had claimed.

Black claimed James apologized when she called to inform him of the decision.

“Nothing I said to her was going to change her mind,” he said.

With Canada out of the running, it strengthens the proposed bid from England to replace Durban as the host city for the 2022 Commonwealth Games.

The South African city was originally chosen in September 2015 after another Canadian city, Edmonton, withdrew due to the worldwide falling oil prices.

But Durban was stripped of the event by the Commonwealth Games Federation in March after failing to meet a series of financial deadlines.

The British Government is currently evaluating bids from Birmingham and Liverpool and are due to announce their choice next month.

Kuala Lumpur, the Malaysian capital which hosted the 1998 Commonwealth Games, had expressed a desire to replace Durban but do not currently have the backing of the country’s Government.

Australia has also expressed an interest, but this seems unlikely with Gold Coast hosting the 2018 Commonwealth Games.

The country has said they will only formally enter the race if another host cannot be found.

By Duncan Mackay

Republished with permission from insidethegames.biz

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