Victoria prepares potential bid for Commonwealth Games return

Greater Victoria hosted the 1994 Commonwealth Games

Greater Victoria plans to make a bid for the 2022 Commonwealth Games.

“Right now it’s a possibility. If you think of this work at the marathon race we’re just in the first hundred metres. But it is a very exciting possibility. the energy and community building that took place in 1994 was beyond compare,” said Oak Bay Mayor Nils Jensen.

With Durban, South Africa as the only bidder for the 2022 Commonwealth Games, Oak Bay resident and prominent businessman David Black (owner of Oak Bay News’ parent company Black Press) sought to have the region serve as backup community to host the 2022 Commonwealth Games. Victoria hosted the Games in 1994.

In April 2015, Oak Bay and many other municipalities committed to backing a “friendly, low-cost Games” for Greater Victoria. At the time Jensen emphasized the plan is to simply offer a “friendly, low-cost Games” as a backup.

“We wanted to be in the queue to be considered for the backup. That was very clear that we didn’t want to infringe in any way at that point,” Jensen said.

Two years later Durban withdrew from the Games.

“David Black once again reconvened the mayors to discuss our interest in putting a bid forward,” Jensen said. “It is at the very early stages of information gathering.”

Jensen notes it would require regional co-operation, including the University of Victoria.

“The Games could not be held without the University of Victoria being on board. They have the facilities. In 1994 the opening and closing ceremonies and track were held at Centennial Stadium. Since that time they’ve built some fantastic facilities which could also be used,” Jensen said. “There is a very tight timeline because there is a requirement that an expression of interest must be made by June. It’s unclear at this point how detailed the expression of interest has to be.”

He feels if Greater Victoria could pull it off, it might set a trend for other Commonwealth countries.

“We have the physical infrastructure and we have the human infrastructure to pull this off. I think it will come down to dollars and cents and our ability and willingness to pay for the Games,” Jensen said. “Most small countries cannot afford to take on the Games at the current level of cost. If we’re able to show that it can be done on a small budget in a friendly way, creating that model will be very beneficial in the long run for the Commonwealth Games.”

A member of the group is drafting a submission to be circulated for comment before they meet again to discuss a submission.

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