David Black speaks to the media from a press conference at his house where he spoke to the bid for the Commonwealth Games in 2022. (Arnold Lim/Black Press)

B.C.’s Commonwealth Games bid moves ahead

Business plan for 2022 submitted to B.C. government

The Victoria Commonwealth Games committee has submitted its business plan to the B.C. government and is confident of its chances to be awarded the international event for 2022, committee chair David Black says.

Black said in an interview he met with B.C. Finance Minister Carole James this week to present the plan to stage a sequel to the 1994 Commonwealth Games in the B.C. capital region.

It includes housing components that would be converted to low-cost residences downtown and near the University of Victoria, and transportation improvements that would ease traffic congestion in the region, he said.

The proposal includes a new arena and stadium, with the city of Langford playing a large role in the development. The Westin Bear Mountain hotel is proposed as a VIP centre, with a developer already partnered to construct a major housing development on land in Langford.

Major hurdles lie ahead for the Victoria bid. It has asked for a $400 million commitment from each of the federal and provincial governments, plus a cost overrun guarantee from the B.C. government and $25 million in in-kind services from participating municipalities.

Vancouver 2010 Olympic committee head John Furlong and George Heller, who headed the 1994 Commonwealth Games organizing committee, joined the Victoria 2022 bid committee in July, along with former federal sports minister and B.C. Lt. Governor Iona Campagnolo and Roger Jackson, an Olympic gold medalist in rowing in 1964 and a sports administrator since then.

Critics have cited the struggle of the 2010 Olympics to raise sponsorship in the wake of the 2008 world financial crisis, the potential for cost overruns and struggle for media sponsorship.

Black, executive chairman of Black Press, said the Commonwealth Games involves countries representing a third of the world’s population, and the advent of video streaming technology presents the possibility of attracting up to one billion viewers of events.

The business plan includes $150 million in commercial revenues from the games, with federal, provincial and private investment combining for $600 million in new housing.

The proposal includes three sports staged in Metro Vancouver, with the popular rugby sevens potentially at B.C. Place, and badminton and table tennis events at the Olympic oval in Richmond.

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2010 Olympic head John Furlong lights the flame for the Vancouver-Whistler games. Furlong has joined the bid committee for the 2022 Commonwealth Games bid for Victoria. (Black Press files)

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