Taxpayer advocacy groups applauds end to Commonwealth Games bid

Taxpayer advocacy groups applauds end to Commonwealth Games bid

The B.C. government said yesterday it would not support a bid for the 2022 Commonwealth Games to come to Victoria. While the bid committee was disappointed with a missed opportunity for the city on the world stage in five years, taxpayer advocacy groups are applauding the move. Andy Neal has more.

The Victoria 2022 Commonwealth Games bid committee believed but that belief is no more.

B.C. Finance Minister Carole James said Thursday the province could not commit the $400 million price tag to help stage the games in Victoria. That announcement was considered good news for organizations looking out for taxpayer dollars.

“The business was based on I put in five cents and the taxpayers put in 95 cents,” John Treleaven of Grumpy Taxpayers of Greater Victoria said.

“That’s not a business plan. It is a funding request. I agree.”

With the province’s $400 million bill, Ottawa would have taken on $400 million as well.

“It doesn’t matter if you’re in the City of Victoria, the province of British Columbia, or the country of Canada, this was just going to cost way too much money,” Kris Sims of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation said.

The Capital Regional District would not have contributed cash but would have provided services worth $25 million dollars.

An expected commercial revenue of $130 million added up to a $955 million expected cost for the Games.

Victoria’s pitch included accommodation and housing costs close to $200 million dollars and $300 million allocated for new sports venues.

Black called Thursday’s news an “enormous” missed opportunity for the city.

“It’s bigger than the sewer project for heaven’s sake and this community debated the sewer project, with good reason, for almost 50 years,” Treleaven said.

James said too many details remain unknown to fully understand the risks associated with hosting such a large scale event, but did leave the door open for another bid attempt in 2030.

“We can use more existing facilities and more existing infrastructure, and really be fiscally prudent, and then host games like this,” Sims said.

“This isn’t no forever, but we’re glad it’s no for now.”

To host the games more than a decade from now, there’s no telling how high the price tag will be.

Andy NealAndy Neal

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