Daphne Bramham: There's little time or appetite for a vote on the 2030 Olympics? - Vancouver Sun


Opinion: Why there has been no push for a decision here until now seems astounding

by Daphne Bramham, on March 28th, 2022

What most of us know about a possible Vancouver 2030 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games is that the chiefs of the four host First Nations and the mayors of Vancouver and Whistler agreed last October to talk about it.

But the plan is already so far down the road that by October — when Vancouver Coun. Colleen Hardwick is proposing a referendum be held in conjunction with the municipal election — it may be too late.

The bid must be finalized by November, with the International Olympic Committee expected to make a decision early next year.

Why there has been no push for a decision here until now seems astounding, especially considering that only four years ago Calgary’s council unanimously suspended its bid for the 2026 Winter Games after 56 per cent of residents rejected the idea in a non-binding referendum.

Yet, somehow we have gone with warp speed from a few people in 2020 musing about “wouldn’t it be great to do it all again” to former CEO John Furlong’s flurry of closed-door meetings with politicians and influencers talking up a pie-in-the-sky, it-won’t-cost-a-thing dream for 2030, and now to what appears to be a near-done deal.

It’s hard to discern exactly what has gone on because of the secrecy at Vancouver City Hall, where almost all of the Olympic talks have been held behind closed doors. The exceptions were votes in late 2020 and again in March 2021 when three Vancouver councillors were opposed to staff even studying the feasibility of an Olympic bid.

It’s all been so hush-hush that “two people behind the 2030 bid” — Tsatassaya White, president of Vancouver 2030, and CEO Emilio Rivero — were interviewed during CBC’s broadcast of the Beijing Olympics’ closing ceremony last month.

But here’s the thing: They’ve got nothing to do with it.

In a telephone interview from Mexico, Rivero told me he did meet with Canadian Olympic Committee president Tricia Smith in November and was told not to approach the IOC.