Games-Alberta to explore Commonwealth Games bid but trouble looms

Alberta will explore a bid to host the 2030 Commonwealth Games but could be tripped up by the same plebiscite hurdle that sank Calgary’s effort to stage the 2026 Winter Olympics.

Commonwealth Sport Canada (CSC) announced on Wednesday the Alberta bid, centred around the province’s two biggest cities Calgary and Edmonton, as the preferred candidate after Hamilton’s bid collapsed.

Hamilton, which hosted the first Commonwealth Games in 1930, had been considered the frontrunner to stage the centennial Games but was unable to obtain the required government backing by the CSC’s Feb. 13th deadline.

“If there is one thing athletes and the sporting world know well it is the road to great achievement is never an easy one but it is one worth embarking on,” said CSC president Claire Carver-Dias, in making the announcement. “It is my distinct pleasure to announce that Alberta has been selected as Commonwealth Sport Canada’s preferred candidate to bid for the 2030 Commonwealth Games.”

The Alberta government will contribute up to $2 million and the city of Edmonton another $1 million to the bid but Roger Jackson, president and CEO of the Alberta 2030 Commonwealth Games Corporation, could not provide a budget for the multi-sport event.

The CSC said it expects to complete the feasibility study in August when a decision will be made on whether to submit a formal bid.

“We are not ready yet to express exactly what that (budget) might be,” said Jackson. “We will be working with our government partners to come to a conclusion as to whether or not we advance a bid.”

Calgary hosted the 1988 Winter Olympics but saw hopes of bringing the 2026 Winter Games back to the city dashed when citizens voted resoundingly against it in a plebiscite, something current mayor Jyoti Gondek would not rule out happening again.

“I don’t know where things are going to land through the exploration so not sure yet it will require a plebiscite,” said Gondek. “I am really hopeful people will see the value of this type of investment.”

If Canada does not put forward a bid it would be another blow for the Commonwealth Games Federation that has struggled to land hosts.

Both the Alberta and Hamilton bids said they were unaware of any other country expressing interest.

Australia will have staged two of the last three Commonwealth Games when Victoria hosts in 2026.

Birmingham hosted the 2022 Games, coming to the rescue after Durban, South Africa was stripped of the event over financial concerns.

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