Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Former Calgary Police Chief Rick Hanson Chairs Group Studying 2026 Olympic Bid

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Former Calgary Police Chief Rick Hanson Chairs Group Studying 2026 Olympic Bid

Article excerpt

Former Calgary police chief leads Games group

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CALGARY - Former Calgary police chief and politician Rick Hanson is back in the public eye as the head of the city's exploration committee studying a possible bid for the 2026 Winter Olympics.

Hanson resigned as Calgary's top cop in 2015 for an unsuccessful run as a Progressive Conservative in the Alberta election later that year.

Calgary was the host city of the 1988 Winter Olympics. After hearing a presentation from the Calgary Sport Tourism Authority, city council voted in June to spend up to $5 million studying ways and means of getting the Games again.

The clock is ticking as Calgary must indicate to the International Olympic Committee their intent to bid for 2026 by September, 2017. The winning bid will be announced in 2019.

"Our goal is to collect all the best information in collaboration with the community to see if it makes sense to bid on the 2026 Games," Hanson said Monday at city hall.

"I have to be clear on this: our work does not pre-suppose an outcome. Our success as a committee is not whether we move forward with a bid or not.

"It will be whether council has enough good quality information to make an informed decision that will benefit Calgarians."

Hanson leads 17 volunteers tasked with analyzing costs -- including how much money will be needed from federal, provincial and municipal governments -- and how to maximize the existing 1988 venues.

They'll provide city council with an interim report in January and a final report in July.

In its pitch to council, the CSTA offered up a price tag of $5.3 billion to host the 2026 Winter Games, which would be less than the $7.7 billion of the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver and Whistler, B.C.

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley said she'll wait to see what funding proposals the committee comes up with and review them.

The province has earmarked a lot of money to improve Alberta's infrastructure, but the need is already greater than the money available, Notley added.

"It is a question of determining which get priority, but the only way to do that is to look at everything that comes before you, so we will do that when the time is appropriate," she said.

Olympic athletes Catriona Le May Doan and Beckie Scott are on Calgary's exploration committee as is former member of Parliament Wilton Littlechild.

A representative of Calgary Sport and Entertainment, owner of the NHL's Flames and CFL's Stampeders, is not on the committee, although the daughter of Flames co-owner Clayton Riddell is.

The Flames want a new arena and football stadium whether Calgary bids for a Winter Games or not.

But the proposed CalgaryNext project -- which includes those components and a field house -- is inevitably linked to a potential Olympic bid.

Calgary Flames president Ken King says he didn't feel snubbed. …

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