The Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) has welcomed Victoria’s interest in a possible bid for the 2026 Commonwealth Games.
Victoria’s potential efforts for the 2026 Commonwealth Games come amid uncertainty over another Hamilton in Canada’s proposed bid for a multi-sport event.
An editorial by David Black, chairman of the Victoria BC Commonwealth Games bid team, said the province could benefit from hosting the multisport event as it tries to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Black claims of hosting the Games would give job seekers a boost, support local businesses, and promote tourism in the Canadian city.
He said the Games would dramatically increase tourism in British Columbia over the next two decades, claiming that two billion people would see the Games.
“Our province needs this,” Black wrote in the Vancouver Sun.
“If we don’t, BC and its cities and towns will have huge deficits because all of the tourist facilities will get into trouble.
“British Columbia tourism was valued at CAD 22 billion (£ 12 billion / $ 17 billion / € 14 billion) in the year before COVID-19, and the British Columbia government was valued at CAD 2 billion (£ 1.1 billion / $ 1.5 billion / € 1.3 billion) in taxes collected by tourism companies.
“The Games will bring that back and will undoubtedly increase tourism by at least 10 percent.
“As a result, the British Columbia government will receive at least CAD 200 million (£ 113 million / $ 158 million / € 130 million) more in taxes each year after 2026.
“The 2026 Commonwealth Games will be far bigger and more profitable than the 1994 Games we hosted in Victoria.”
Victoria hosted the 1994 Commonwealth Games © Getty Images
Black said the bid committee is proposing a $ 1 billion (£ 790 million) budget for the Games, from the governments of Canada and British Columbia, as well as streaming advertising.
Black, executive chairman of Black Press Media and director of the 1994 Commonwealth of Victoria Games, said governments would get half of their contribution back through taxes in advance of the Games, while the rest would be recouped through increased tourism.
The tender provides for the construction of 2,000 new apartments for the 8,000 athletes, which will become “affordable rents” after the games.
The bid committee has also proposed building another Commonwealth pool, large ice arena, field house and new bike course, as well as hockey, lacrosse and cricket fields.
A 2,000-meter rudder system and upgrades to existing venues were also proposed.
“We’ll have one game sport in Vancouver, two in Richmond, and at least one in every ward in the Victoria area,” Black wrote.
“By doing this, we will provide funding to every community and all citizens will enjoy being closer to sports competitions than we were able to get in 1994.
“The Games and their facilities will also be wonderful for our athletes and for future generations of British Columbians.
“The housing and new sports facilities will certainly be needed as Victoria continues to grow.
“Winning them as a result of the Games will save Victoria, BC and the locals from having to pay for the facilities themselves for the next 20 years.
“After the games, they will be transferred to the municipalities and universities free of charge.
“In summary, the 2026 Commonwealth Games will help our province, its businesses and its citizens tremendously.
“We are optimistic that the BC government will approve in principle.”
The Games have not taken place in Canada since Victoria 1994.
Victoria had hoped to put together an offer to replace Durban to host the 2022 Commonwealth of Nations after the South African city was stripped of the event for failing to meet a number of financial deadlines.
However, the provincial and state governments refused to support the proposal and the Games were instead awarded to Birmingham, England.
Victoria’s potential bid comes amid ongoing uncertainty about Hamilton’s candidacy for the 2026 Commonwealth Games
A decision on whether the Ontario government will support an offer from Hamilton to host the Commonwealth Games is expected shortly.
It remains unclear how the decision will turn out and whether Ontario supports the offer for 2026, 2027 or 2030.
The Ontario government is reluctant to support a 2026 bid as it focuses on getting the province selected as the host city for the FIFA World Cup to be held this year in the United States, Canada and Mexico However, this announced may support hosting in 2027.
“The CGF is aware of Victoria BC’s interest in hosting the 2026 Commonwealth Games and is aware that discussions are taking place on the use of the multisport event as part of the post-pandemic province rebuilding plan,” said a CGF spokesman.
“The CGF welcomes Victoria BC’s positive interest in the Games as we continue to work closely with Commonwealth Sport Canada to bring the competition back to the country in the near future.”
The CGF announced in November that it was negotiating with Australia, Canada and Sri Lanka over possible applications for the 2026 Commonwealth Games.