Victoria’s 2022 Commonwealth Games bid committee boasts a business plan to bring a lasting legacy and infrastructure without hitting local pocketbooks says David Black.
“It’s Canada’s turn and within Canada it’s our turn. Vancouver had the 2010 Olympics and got billions of dollars … so the investment should go outside of the Lower Mainland now,” ,” says Black, a prominent Oak Bay businessman and owner of Black Press. “We put together a very good Games plan. We’ve been through this before. We’ve got all the facilities and the know how. Of course we have a huge volunteer base so it makes it a lot easier this time.”
When Durban, South Africa backed out as host of the 2022 Commonwealth Games, Black (owner of Oak Bay News’ parent company Black Press) renewed his bid to have Victoria host the event. Victoria hosted the Games in 1994.
“We haven’t won the rights yet, but we’re close. We have to have commitments on the money by the end of June and we’re close to that. We have practical, prudent, modest budget … but it’s more than enough to do a wonderful job,” Black said.
While withholding the overall bid budget, he says there’s very little contribution requested from locals in terms of financing.
The village at UVic needs to be twice as big, which means building $100 million worth of new housing there, he said. That would create 4,000 athlete beds which equates to 2,000 student beds post-Games.
“We hope to build $80 million in low-income housing in Greater Victoria. We need that to house officials but after that month of competition is over that will go to low income housing. Another $80,000 would enhance athletic facilities.
“All of it would be in full-time use afterwords by athletes just like Commonwealth is now,” Black said.
The deadline for a bidding package looms at the end of the month, but Black is confident about garnering required funding, federally and provincially to host the event.
During the 1994 Commonwealth Games, left $15 million to $20 million in legacy funding still in use today, he said.
“Every year they pay a lot of money to support Canada’s athletes,” Black said. “We have a lot of national training centres here now partly as a result of the Games in ’94. On top of that, it was a huge morale booster for the town.”