A decade after Vancouver hosted the 2010 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games, the former CEO of the Vancouver Organizing Committee (VANOC) is urging the city to put it’s hat in the ring once more.
During a presentation to the Vancouver Board of Trade on Thursday, John Furlong said that the city should bid for the Games in 2030.
“I think the timing is actually very, very good,” Furlong told The Canadian Press. “We have the venues. We could effectively be the only city ever to use exactly the same footprint.
“We have this opportunity. Eventually, these venues will get tired and get old and the timing will go away.”
Furlong, who was head of the successful bid for the 2010 games, said those games broke even carrying a cost of around $4 billion.
The Games brought legacy projects such as the Canada Line SkyTrain line that connects the Vancouver airport with downtown, improvements to the Sea-to-Sky highway, and new venues including the Richmond Oval.
With all of those major projects fully functional, Furlong believes that will lower costs if the city were to bid again.
“When you look at Vancouver and the message the IOC has been trying to present for future games about using existing facilities, lowering the cost, this is a perfect case,” Furlong said.
“You can’t lower the cost any more than not having to build any venues.”
According to Furlong, bringing the games back to Vancouver could lead to new, additional projects that would help some of the problems that the city currently faces, including transportation and housing.
“There are housing costs, homelessness, unaffordable housing and transportation infrastructure that’s not really complete,” he said. “We have some very good transportation infrastructure, but not enough.”
Although Furlong suggested he would help do what he could if a bid was put forward for 2030, the 69-year-old said he would not put his name forward to lead.
The last Canadian city to go through the bidding process was Calgary as they had an interest in the 2026 games, however the city pulled out due to rising costs and lack of public interest.
This has been a growing trend with Olympic games in recent years as less cities are competing in the bidding process. Beijing won a two-horse race for the 2022 Winter Olympics just 14 years after hosting the Summer Games.
“Every one of these races for the Olympics is a competition between cities,” Furlong said. “I like our chances against anyone.”
With Files to Canadian Press