You might’ve heard that Victoria is planning to bring the Commonwealth Games back for the second time.
Over the summer, plans have developed quickly, and a budget was just released. But what would the games actually look like? We broke it down so you don’t have to.
1 – The Budget
- On Wednesday, August 16, the Victoria bid committee unveiled a $955 million budget plan that relies heavily on contributions from all levels of government, including:
- $400 million from the federal government
- $400 million from the B.C. government, plus any cost overruns.
- $25 million of in-kind services Greater Victoria municipalities
- $130 million from revenue from the operation of the Games
- $75 million budgeted as a “legacy fund for sport development” could act as a cushion if needed.
- Excitement about Victoria as a potential host has been expressed in the past by both NDP Premier John Horgan and Green Party Leader Andrew Weaver. However, since the recent budget announcement B.C. Finance Minister Carole James has been cautious.
- Chair of the Victoria Commonwealth Games bid committee, David Black, said that “There is no risk whatsoever of an overrun,” during a press conference on Wednesday
2 – Potential Venues
- A regional stadium in the West Shore with 40,000 seats for the opening and closing ceremonies as well as track and field. Seating would be reduced to 10,000 after the Games.
- A gymnastics arena at a site to be determined, which will later be converted to an Olympic-size ice rink
- Temporary venues could include beach volleyball in front of the legislature and three-on-three basketball at Ship Point.
- Athletes Village and Officials Village built near Costco in Langford and converted to housing after the Games.
- Swimming at Saanich Commonwealth Place (expanded from 8 lanes to 10)
- Boxing at Save-on-Foods Memorial Centre
- Judo and wrestling at the Q Centre
- Netball at UVic’s CARSA Gym
- Field hockey at UVic
- Mountain biking at Bear Mountain
- Triathlon at Elk Lake
- Lawn bowling at Juan de Fuca
- Three sports on the Lower Mainland
- Rugby sevens at B.C. Place
- Badminton and table tennis at the Richmond Oval
3 – Potential Benefits
According to bid committee chair David Black, “The benefits to Victoria of the 2022 Games would be huge.”
The following benefits are a few of many stated by Black, other members of the committee, and those found in their Business Plan:
- An estimated television and internet viewing audience of over 1.5 billion
- Operations spending and new capital investment will add more than $2 billion to Vancouver Island’s economy over the next five years.
- Over 10,000 person-years of new employment
- The Games would create $600 million in new mixed housing
- Tourism increases
- $300 million in new sport infrastructure
4 – Potential Consequences
“Taxpayers may need a seatbelt, a crash helmet and a roll-bar before this is all over,” Stan Bartlett, chairman of Grumpy Taxpayer$ of Greater Victoria, told the Times Colonist.
“The estimated 2022 Games budget of $955 million is simply an illusion and in our view, the final costs will be more in the order of $1.5 billion,” Bartlett added.
“If history is any guide, security in 2014 Glasgow [Commonwealth Games] cost about $140 million, and at the Vancouver Olympics an estimated budget of $200 million for security ended up costing the taxpayers $1 billion. Mr. Black’s estimate of . . . $50 million for security costs is a wishful illusion.”
Lack of Transparency:
Vice-chair John Treleaven also told CHEK News that there is not enough transparency to the bid.
“We the taxpayers, you and I, deserve public discussion about request for our hard-earned dollars,” he said.
5 – The Bidding Process For These Games is Unusual
The 2022 Games are in the midst of an emergency replacement situation, rather than a normal bidding process because the original host, Durban, South Africa, had the Games withdrawn in March.
That leaves the new 2022 host only four and a half years to organize the Games. Host cities usually have seven years to prepare.
Liverpool, Birmingham, and Kuala Lumpur are the other potential hosts.
The deadline to submit a detailed, 300-page bid is Sept. 30. After that, each bidding city must make a presentation to the Commonwealth Games Federation in London in October. Two months later, in December, the 2022 host city will be announced.
The Victoria bid committee may have to ask the Federation for an extension.