Victoria businessman David Black is making a push to bring the 2026 Commonwealth Games back to Victoria.
The Black Press Media owner says hosting the games will help rejuvenate the economy post COVID-19 and have a much bigger impact compared to the 1994 games.
“For Victoria, it brings about a billion dollars to town and we get to spend the money building things that otherwise everybody who pays taxes is going to pay for over the next 20 years as Victoria keeps growing,” said Black.
The proposed $1-billion budget would be $400 million from the federal government, $400 million from the provincial government, and $200 million from streaming advertising.
Black says they would build another Commonwealth pool, another major ice arena with a European-sized rink, a major fieldhouse, a new cycling track, a number of hockey, lacrosse and cricket fields, a proper 2,000-metre rowing facility, and many other facility improvements and additions. He also says there would roughly 2000 affordable housing units built as part of the games as well.
Events would be hosted in every Greater Victoria municipality, as well as multiple in both Richmond and Vancouver.
There are a few obstacles that may prevent Black’s dream of seeing the Commonwealth Games return to Victoria including the fact that the Commonwealth Games Canada has chosen Hamilton, Ont., as the candidate city for either a 2026 or 2030 bid.
However, Hamilton has yet to receive financial backing from the Ontario government and with B.C.’s tourism industry taking a major hit from COVID-19, Black says the games represent a prime opportunity to help the industry recovery.
“In 2019 the year before COVID-19, B.C. had $22 billion of tourism and the B.C. government got $2 billion of taxes from the tourism businesses. The Games will bring that back and no doubt increase tourism by at least 10 per cent. Therefore, the B.C. government will get at least $200 million more in taxes every year after 2026.”
Black is no stranger to this process.
In 2017, he chaired a committee that was unsuccessful in getting Victoria to host the 2022 Commonwealth Games after the provincial government declined to provide any funding.
In a statement to CHEK News, Melanie Mark, the province’s tourism and sports minister, said with Commonwealth Games Canada already picking Hamilton as a bid city, the process will only reopen if Hamilton cannot move forward.
“There is currently another Canadian city, Hamilton, Ontario, that has already been selected by Commonwealth Games Canada as the candidate city for a bid for the 2026 or 2030 Commonwealth Games. This process will only reopen if the existing candidate city is unable to continue,” she said.
Mark also said that the province is looking forward seeing any plans Black may have in regards to a 2026 bid.
“I understand Mr. Black has been working with a number of potentially interested parties to consider a bid for 2026 Commonwealth Games, I look forward to them presenting the province with a detailed business case including formal commitments from the federal and municipal governments,” she added.