Why is there no LRT to the airport?
The Olympic budget only includes infrastructure that is needed to host the Olympics. Although an LRT connection to the Airport would be great for Calgary, it is not absolutely required to host the Olympics.
Why is there no new arena?
This Olympic and Paralympic bid includes only the elements we need to host a successful Olympics. It does not include infrastructure we don't actually need to host the games. The IOC has determined that the Saddledome is adequate for hosting the Games.In fact, the IOC penalizes cities for including costly extras that are not actually required. It is part of their strategy to restrain the exploding costs of recent Olympic Games.
Of course, if the City of Calgary and the owners of the Calgary Flames reach an agreement to build a new arena, that arena would allow more people to enjoy the Games.
Why is there no train to Banff?
Banff is a national park and will not be hosting any events for the Olympics. A train to Banff is not required to host the Games.
Why is the ski jumping in Whistler?
The reality is that Calgary’s ski jumps are inadequate for the 2026 Games. Calgary 2026 has two choices: build new jumps in Calgary or use the existing jumps in Whistler.
Building a new set of jumps in Calgary create three problems: the weather, utilization after the Games and cost:
- Unfortunately, Calgary faces Chinook winds in the winter. These winds come from the west with high degrees of regularity and impact ski jumpers.
- In addition, the jumps we built for 1988 are the one piece of sports infrastructure that have not been well utilized by the sporting community. Ski jumping has never, if you will forgive the pun, taken off.
- Re-using the newer facilities in Whistler will same millions of dollars and has been strongly encouraged by the IOC. Calgary 2026 is committed to minimizing costs, this is a great way to save money.
I don’t live in Calgary. Why can’t I vote on this?
The vast majority of events will be held in Calgary and the Government of Alberta correctly decided that the citizens of Calgary should decide whether or not to proceed with a bid to host the games.
How will Calgary’s accessibility improve through the Games?
Hosting the Paralympic Games is a new and exciting opportunity for Calgary, as the Paralympics were not part of the Olympics in 1988. By hosting the Paralympics, we will significantly improve accessibility in and around Calgary, such as wider sidewalks, pedestrian ramps, curb cuts and other modifications. Venue designs of the bid make it easier for people of all abilities to enter, more around, and leave the facilities. In addition to infrastructure improvements hosting the Paralympics will help promote an inclusive community by creating awareness about the importance of accessibility for all Calgarians and visitors to our city.
Why should we partner with the IOC?
The International Olympic Committee, responding to public pressure and ever escalating costs to host the Olympic and Paralympic Games, embarked on a process called Agenda 2020 designed to push down the cost of hosting the Games. In 2018, the IOC approved 118 reforms to reduce costs.
For example, cities are discouraged – and penalized – for including infrastructure plans that are not absolutely necessary to hosting a successful Games.
Other reforms will permit Calgary to use the Montreal Anti-Doping lab instead of building a local one; and also means we won’t have to build a separate media centre close to the mountain venues. Those two changes alone will save $25 million.
In addition to driving down the costs, the Agenda 2020 process has opened up transparency around the bid process itself with the host city contract being posted online for citizens to evaluate prior to the bid.
It is fair to call out the IOC for practices of the past, but it is also fair to recognize the steps the IOC has taken to ensure a fair, cost effective and transparent bid process is developed moving forward.
I heard the IOC is demanding perks, like dedicated traffic lanes
Bluntly, no. Not true.
The IOC, in the host city contract that is publicly available, is concerned about traffic flow around venues and throughout the entire area hosting the Olympic and Paralympic Games. They ask that each host city submit a transportation plan that considers how spectators, athletes, media and officials (those tasked with managing the events) can get to and from venues. In addition, they want assurances that hosting the Games will not shut down the host city’s own transportation requirements.
Solid planning early in the process will result in minimum disruption to Calgary transportation. Car pool lanes to and from venues, encouraging the use of public transit and, where required, limiting the number of spectators at specific venues can all be used to ensure traffic flows cleanly through the Olympic and Paralympic events.
Will Calgarians have access to tickets?
There are always rumours that the best tickets or the majority of tickets will be reserved for sponsors or insiders. That is not the case with the Calgary 2026 bid. Already, the bid organizing committee has stated that making tickets available for Calgarians will be a huge priority.
This doesn’t mean that you’ll be assured tickets to the Gold medal hockey game. Demand will be huge, but as in 1988, Calgary can be expected to hold fair lotteries for tickets to the most popular events.