Greater Victoria’s 2022 Commonwealth Games bid is not dead yet, vows David Black.
The bid committee chair and Black Press owner shared with the News that the Commonwealth Games Federation has extended its deadline for receipt of qualified bids to Nov. 30. That decision was based on the fact lone 2022 Games bidder Birmingham, England did not submit an acceptable financial plan.
In an Oct. 5 letter to Commonwealth Games Canada president Richard Powers, federation president Louise Martin wrote that as no “fully compliant bid” had yet been received for the 2022 Games, that the process would be reopened to all CGAs (Commonwealth Games Associations) that wish to host.
“We look forward to working with you and the Victoria Bid Team, the BC and Federal Governments to ascertain whether a fully compliant bid will be possible,” Martin wrote.
Black said the turn of events is “fortunate” for the Victoria bid in that it gives the team another two months to attempt to secure the necessary funding commitments from the federal, provincial and municipal governments. Birmingham’s bid was similarly lacking in financial support, he added.
“We lobbied hard with the CGF to get them to do this, because we had a new government in B.C. that didn’t have the time to analyze [the bid]. They’ve been busy doing all the things you have to do as a new government,” he said.
The committee has sent the province a copy of the federation’s letter in hopes of starting a fresh conversation and at press time was awaiting a response, Black said. “That’s all we can do … it gives us a real shot, but we’ve got to get people to step up.”
In August the B.C. NDP government turned down a request for a $400 million funding commitment to help stage the 2022 Games in Victoria, and to guarantee any cost overruns. The short time frame to analyze the bid also played into the province’s decision, Finance Minister Carole James stated at the time.
Black hopes that the new deadline will allow a more detailed government look into the revised plan. Not only would the province’s commitment work out to $25 million per year over five years, he said, the Games would bring millions of dollars in long-term benefits to B.C. and Greater Victoria through shared infrastructure costs, affordable housing, job creation, additional tourism revenue and more.
“The way to build infrastructure without breaking your taxpayers is by holding a major event like this … where you’re paying a fraction of the cost,” he said.