Opinion

Victoria 2022 bid committee chair offers costs/benefits of hosting Commonwealth Games

<p>Victoria 2022 Commonwealth Games bid committee chair David Black believes there are many reasons why hosting the Games makes sense for the region. Don Denton/Black Press</p> -

Victoria 2022 Commonwealth Games bid committee chair David Black believes there are many reasons why hosting the Games makes sense for the region. Don Denton/Black Press

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The benefits to Victoria, B.C. and Canada of hosting the 2022 Commonwealth Games are many.

The Games will bring almost $1 billion in value to the region and local taxpayers will pay less than two per cent of the $955 million cost of staging the Games.

The Government of Canada is being asked to fund $400 million (cost to Victoria taxpayers $2 million) as is the Province of BC ($5 million for local taxpayers). Victoria municipalities would provide $25 million of in-kind services ($10 million covered by area taxes), for a total of $17 million to local taxpayers. On the commercial revenue side, $130 million will be generated.

With the Games, the cost to the local taxpayers to build the $225 million of needed athletic facilities will be $4 million. Without the Games, the cost to build these athletic facilities would still be $225 million.

Without the Games, the additional money needed to jump start local affordable housing, provide $75 million for the sport legacy fund, promote Canada, B.C. and Victoria as a destination, create $150 million in local wages and the purchase $350 million of local services would all be extra.

Where would we ever find the funds to accomplish these things?

A contribution from the Games will launch 2,000 new two-bedroom affordable housing units in Greater Victoria before 2022. This will lead to another 4,000 new housing units after 2022.

The enhancement to Victoria sport and recreational facilities could see Saanich end up with the best aquatic centre in North America.

Among other benefits, the Games will also provide the catalyst to permanently fix the Colwood Crawl, increase motivation for Canadian athletes and boost pride and spirit for local citizens.

The 1994 Games in Victoria resulted in the creation of eight national sport centres here with top-level coaching. The 2022 Games would create several more, with local athletes and our economy benefiting greatly.

Economically, $150 million of wages would be paid to those hired in Victoria to run the Games, and $350 million of services would be purchased from local companies. $75 million would be added to B.C.'s existing $25-million sport legacy fund.

And Victoria, B.C. and Canada will be able to promote themselves to a Games audience of more than 1.5 billion people.

An opportunity to host the Commonwealth Games will likely not come again for decades, because we have had them once and governments try to spread them around in a normal bidding year. We should move prudently but quickly to take advantage of our one-time chance.

David Black, chair

Commonwealth Games

Victoria 2022 bid committee

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