What Else YYC?


#WhatelseYYC is asking Calgarians, what would you have liked to see the City of Calgary, Province of Alberta and the Government of Canada do with the $30 million contributed to form the bidco? How do you think the projected $4 billion cost to host the games could be used to help address the issues that all Canadians are truly concerned with?

  • Public Housing
  • Public Health
  • Environmental Protection
  • Education
  • Economic Diversity initiatives for Alberta

Please comment below and contact us if you have expertise in the area you are proposing that could use some investment that can truly enrich the lives of citizens.

27 thoughts on “What Else YYC?

  1. Pertaining to local issues that the initial $30M could be spent on: -create an innovative snow removal program(ie not wait for the next Chinook to come along to melt the snow). Mayor Nenshi talks endlessly about making Calgary a world class city…so why not spend money to make it a world class snow removal innovator.
    -The amount of potholes in my neighbourhood (South Calgary) is ridiculous. This is a continual problem that the City never gets control of.
    These are pragmatic, daily issues that every Calgarian deals with and they are fundamental issues that the City could and should focus on.

    $4B could be spent:
    -on increasing public transportation. Get the train built to the airport and beyond…. including to the deep south. -build a bullet train to Edmonton.
    -creating more affordable housing throughout the province including affordable seniors accommodations.

    Another crazy idea…Why not just save the money?!


  2. The City of Calgary has somewhere between 6 to 7 billion dollars worth of unfunded infrastructure repairs that need to looked at and repaired accordingly.

  3. Here’s a novel idea: don’t spend the 30 million. Last I checked the city isn’t exactly running surpluses here.

    Alberta was actually in a net asset position (assets outweighed debts) until 2016. The latest projections for the next fiscal year is that we will have $71 billion of total debt. That’s a lot of money. Not sure how we responsibly and thoughtfully pay it off when we tag on a potential $9 billion party bill onto that. Perhaps much less if a large portion of it is offloaded onto the citizens of Calgary or onto the much larger (and faster growing) federal debt.

    Someone needs to be the adult in the room and say that we can’t afford to be spendthrifts forever, that we have responsibilities to maintain infrastructure, education and healthcare that everyone uses, not just building and maintaining white elephant sporting facilities for a user base that is in the minority. Not sure we need to engage in ad hominem attacks here, but I tend to be extremely skeptical when a group of former elite athletes, political insiders of a pro-Olympics mayor, and wealthy Calgarians are telling normal Calgarians that the project they’re boosting won’t impact the lives of the average Calgarian at all, there’s nothing to see here, and in fact, a 3 week party will hugely benefit the entire city, the entire province, and make the lives of Calgarians better for decades to come. Also, there may be a small financial impact that could be ruinous to the provincial debt and the municipal property tax burden, but that’s neither here nor there. In fact, we won’t even talk about it. (A little hyperbole here, but I’m gobsmacked by the fact we’re even talking about hosting the Olympics)

    Everyone keeps talking about the provincial contribution and the federal contribution. Let’s not forget that we’re Canadian. The money is still coming out of our pockets. It’s just the self interest of politicians that makes it into a: “let’s make it another level of government’s problem, that way it won’t impact my legacy/books”.

    I say we should talk about how to pay for this and who gets left holding the bag when this is all said and done.

  4. Instead of spending over $5 billion on an Olympics sized block party at the behest of an elite cadre led by Mayor Nenshi, the money should be used to benefit ordinary Calgarians. For example, subsidize property taxes and utility costs, so that people aren’t forced to sell their homes because they can’t afford to live in them. This is especially the case for young families, disabled, unemployed/underemployed and seniors, certainly not the privileged few for whom a successful Olympics bid is ego tripping on a gigantic scale.

  5. Flood mitigation projects, completing the other half of the LRT that is currently unfunded, Adding a spur to the Airport from the existing NE line. .

  6. Not only are we opposed to hosting the Olympics from a financial/fiscal perspective, we believe all Canadians should benefit from the tax dollars spent on athletics, not just individuals who want taxpayers to fund their athletic participation.
    The funding proposed could instead be spent for promoting sport and fitness for ALL Canadians. Obesity is a health issue rising world wide and will continue to be an ever increasing health care cost! Let’s promote activity and fitness for all.
    1. The tax credit for enrolment of children in sport that was removed by the current government needs to be reinstated. Add a line for equipment cost.
    2. Fund all public golf courses and fitness facilities and promote their use. (Complaining by city hall of a $ loss is unfathomable when you have no problem spending 26 million on exploring an Olympic bid!!)
    3. Make swimming lessons free for all. In school programs expanded.
    4. Tax credits for money spent on passes to any city facilities…pools, arenas, Winsport given extra money to subsidize ski lessons and downhill mountain biking.
    5. Expand the City ‘Park and Play’ free programs to encourage children to try different activities on school breaks.
    6. Continue to build bike/hiking/horse trails and provide serviced washrooms.
    7. Serviced public washrooms on city bike paths to encourage use.
    8. Increase tennis courts/basketball/skateboard/outdoor ice rinks.
    9. Expand cross country skiing and snowshoeing at all city golf courses for the winter use. Maybe inexpensive on-site rentals?
    10. Subsidize school Phys. Ed. Programs so they can promote life long activities as a focus of their programs. Elementary and junior high/middle schools programs rather than just High School Phys. Ed. 10

    Tax dollars should be spent on all participants to promote ‘Fitness for Life’. Olympic athletes can continue their sports on the World Cup circuit. After all, the Olympics has just become another event. This 2 week event is far too expensive for any country to absorb financially.
    Vancouver has the right idea by rejecting the FIFA World Cup host city.
    The IOC, FIFA, FIBA make a fortune on the backs of taxpayers in host countries. It’s time for this to stop! This includes the Flames NHL club wanting taxpayers to fund their new arena. Who will have access? Not the public!!
    With data that indicates that fewer people than ever are watching network TV, seems like NBC is also betting on viewership on the Olympics. This is big business driving tax dollars expenditure!

    As former Phys. Ed Teachers, we ‘walk the talk’ of fitness for life.
    Rod and Patti Davidson

    Sent from my iPad

  7. How else to spend the $4 Billion?
    1. Rail transport to/from airport,with baggage space, no steps or provide elevator, signs in languages understandable by overseas visitors/tourists, route maps. Provide links to all parts of the city and outlying areas – Spruce Meadows, Banff, etc. with directions on how to access them
    2. Accessible transport for elderly and mobility-challenged citizens, whenever wanted/needed at a reasonable cost. Access usually takes too long, makes many pick-up stops, causes fatigue, frustration/panic about being late for appointments and increases anxiety/high blood pressure and illness.
    3. City must provide follow up support for immigrants, refugees, non English speakers, personal assistance with bureaucracy, i.e. how to obtain SIN & health cards, insurance, banking, taxation requirements, housing, everyday language for shopping etc. Too much is left to private sponsors such as churches & faith groups.
    4. Provide affordable and accessible housing, not just for single homeless people and immigrants but for families, close to transport and facilities such as schools, libraries, groceries and open space for children’s play.
    5. Increase service employees to answer calls to municipal and institutional departments, Telus etc. – 611 caused me to wait over one hour before I was connected to a real person. Ridiculous!

  8. In terms of ‘ideas’ in lieu of Olympic taxpayer gouging:

    Proper funding for police and fire – personnel and equipment
    Improve traffic flow vs corking it up with unused bike lanes and increased bus stops with no lay-bys
    Fix potholes in a timely manner
    Properly care for parks – mow and water regularly, control weeds and dandelions
    Proper and timely by-law response
    Remove funding for special interest groups
    Stop over charging and constant huge increases on property taxes, utilities, garbage pickups (which used to be included in property taxes)
    There is no end to things that are actually needed in daily living and maintenance and it seems that less is being done but taxpayers are being charged ever more. We simply can’t afford a 10 day party to cater to a small group of over-inflated egos.

    S. Durksen

  9. Economic Diversity. A motorsports park; oval, road track and drag strip. This would draw new events and create many new businesses. As well, besides professional racers, mortorsports parks are used by regular folks whom can race their own vehicles; instead of on the streets.

  10. Politicians seem to want to spend huge amounts of money. They do not care about who has to pay that loan back. They will leave politics and retire on the huge pensions they have voted for themselves. I personally do not want to pay 5 billion dollars for a 14 day sports party. The Alberta economy has not fully recovered and our Provincial debt is huge. Common sense must prevail. Get with it Calgarians. Vote NO.

  11. You cannot talk about what other projects the $4 billion (plus) would be spent on. There IS no $4 billion. The Olympics would use money that does not exist and could only be raised by further taxes and increased pressure on citizens. This is not the time! And remember that the last Olympics in Calgary only ‘made’ money because of television/media coverage which now belongs to the IOC. There is no way to recoup the money spent on the Olympics.

  12. Interestingly most comments suggest spending the published estimated cost (not the eventual cost which has always been considerably higher!)on other projects including social issues/subsidies/projects ..This is not the point because the various levels of Governments do NOT have any of that money available because they are already running large deficits so it would have to be borrowed thereby increasing taxpayer debt which will have to be paid for by increasing taxes.one way or the other..Under current IOC rules Calgary would have lost a great deal of money at the 1988 Olympics because the IOC now takes a very large amount of the broadcasting fees .It is all very well suggesting all sorts of alternatives but please be realistic..There is NO money in the bank !!

  13. Certainly I have financial concerns like most others, but my primary objections are based on the sleazy ethics/lack of morality in the IOC and world sport organisations and government sport portfolios. For a start, if the IOC had any sense of decency, it would not encourage cities to spend tens of millions of dollars just bidding for the games. It would put a cap on bid budgets. And after the Sochi doping scandal I have little faith in the legitimacy of results.

  14. I am concerned about the comments made by the new CEO of the Olympic Bid organization. She is quoted as saying “to engage our citizens to answer the question of what would a successful winter and Paralympic games be for you?”

    If this is an example of the possible wording of a plebiscite it strikes me as entirely unacceptable. The plebiscite should very simply require a YES or NO answer. The wording attributed to Ms Moran seems to be deliberately obtuse and designed to prevent a simple clear response.

    I do hope the plebiscite will be clear and not designed to allow interpretation.


    J.K. Todd

    1. “answer the question of what would a successful winter and Paralympic games be for you?”

      So many details of what that can possibly mean for different people. What are the criteria that a “successful” games are be judged upon by BidCo and by City Council? What weighting is put on the criteria? The City hasn’t given the public any of this information.

      Cost? Overruns? How much overrun allowed? What is the clear source of all funding from all levels of govt? Alberta has accumulated significant debt and continues to do so. So too has the Federal government. Calgary’s current debt is at least $4B. Why would we go into debt to host the Olympics, they don’t even pay for the estimated $4.6B budget that CBEC developed.

      The only criteria so far seems to be nostalgia, feel good, world class so the decision feels predetermined to satisfy the ego and legacy desires of certain people – namely the Mayor and some Councillors.

  15. This whole process of hosting the 2026 Olympics is nothing but a scam. The whole notion of hosting these games came after Calgary City Council got cold feet at the cost of “Project Next”. The next thing you know there’s talk of hosting the 2026 Olympics. In that way everybody can help pay for a new arena. The arena negotiations will go on this fall according to Councillor Jeff Davison no doubt tied to how much the Provincial and Federal governments are willing to contribute. That was the same story for the 1988 games. The powers to be had to have an excuse for building a stadium for the private corporation now know as CSEC. Not bad. Get the use of a NHL size arena and not pay any rent. Yes CSEC is mandated to put slightly more than one million a year into minor sports/charities. That money comes from the Flames Foundation. That’s chump change compared to what the Saddledome would cost. An yes CSEC gets every nickel of profit generated by the Saddledome. Why do you think Mary Moran got the CEO’s job. She’s a big proponent of building a new arena at taxpayers expense. I could care less what the iOC says about the viability of the Saddledome. Just wait and see.

  16. Absolutely NO! to this Olympic bid fiasco. Our city council and city managers can’t even manage the run up to the bid process! They have no idea what they have already spent or where or why. They just keep on approving more money on top of more money, with no idea where it is all going, just to try and put together committees and a “Bidco” etc., and this is all before they have even decided to bid. They have been “studying it” for years and still have no idea what the true cost to taxpayers will be. Based on recent experiences elsewhere what we do know is that it will be substantially more than the $4.6 Billion figure that they keep floating. Common sense and good judgement should tell them that it will be at least double that amount. They are being manipulated by a tired and sleazy IOC, to get them to host a tainted event that has lost it’s relevance, due to the complete incompetence of the IOC. If the IOC truly has other cities standing in line, salivating at the opportunity to host these Olympics, then them proceed with one of them. Calgary, Alberta and Canada, simply can not afford the risk. It’s time to cut our losses and move on to more important issues, at all government levels.

  17. Based on the entire timeline, this whole process is just an exercise in political theatre.

    From it’s inception with Mayor Nenshi in 2015, to CBEC and the feasibility study to the BidCo and now a CEO of the BidCo who gets a bonus for a “yes” vote in the plebiscite City Council has demonstrated over and over again that they are driving a steamroller over the taxpayers of Calgary, Alberta and Canada.

    They have not answered the original question, “Should Calgary bid?” in a formal way to the public. They have formed a BidCo and committed to no less than $35M for the bid. The are keeping the CBEC study secret. The BidCo isn’t subject to FOI but it has $35M of public money and involves many City employees.

    They have not held a single public hearing on the subject of bidding. The much lauded engagement plan to present a balanced view for the public has hardly engaged and the City itself is in an inherent conflict of interest.

    Council is still trying to have the public buy into the charade that they are thinking about whether or not to bid. They are building a Bid as we speak. The plebiscite is non-binding.

    My prediction is that even if the vote is a “no”, Council will resort to the “sunk cost” (fallacy) excuse to bid anyway.

  18. If we are going to spend in excess of $4B on a 17 day event, I believe those funds would be better allocated to the following:

    – Extend C-Train to airport
    – Build out more complete Green Line
    – Pay off City’s long term debt saving taxpayers roughly $200M a year in carrying costs which would reduce property taxes by about 10%.

  19. Ok. I still see no real benefit to hosting. Frankly as a taxpayer, contributions from other levels of government still means I pay three times. Taxes are already far to high. I have zero interest in paying for a sporting event. And in no way do I want my grandson to have to pay for it. Calgarians have many unmet needs already, and still we have fiscal managent issues. I do not trust THIS civic government to manage the event. Just say NO!

  20. Today on September 2018, it is $5.2 bln dollars expense to the city. What kind of crystal ball did the BidCo, and the city “EXPERTS” used to tell us that this the final number, and how can they ensure the public that there will NOT be cost overruns? Can the BidCo say, if there are cost overruns who will pay for it? Can the city mayor Nenshi say, that city taxpayers will never be burden with these cost overruns, and their taxes will NOT be jacked up as a result of hosting the games?
    I am pretty sure that NO ONE from the BidCo, and even our “world famous” mayor Nenshi can say NO to all my questions.
    Therefore, I say NO to hosting the games in Calgary.
    $5.2 bln dollars can be spent on a lot of things in the city, and in this province. Our megalomaniac mayor should better listen to all taxpayers, Calgarians, not just BIG CORPS, and the corrupted organization like IOC.

  21. According to news reports (just the facts, ma’am) the 1988 Winter Olympics had a cost overrun of 59% on the infrastructure that was built for the Games. The only saving grace for that event was the massive television financial windfall that was shared with the Calgary Games organizers. Looking back over several Winter and Summer Olympics, one thing is clear; they have all run deficits, which scares me very much when I read some of the sketchy information that the City and Calgary 2026 has deemed appropriate to share with us. Only $600 million for security — when you are likely going to have at least three possibly five other venues that will need patrolling? Canmore, Vancouver, Edmonton. And perhaps Red Deer, if John Furlong was successful in convincing the citizens there to get involved. And we don’t even know where the curling competition will be held. Hey Red Deer, maybe that’s the basket in which you should put your eggs. Or are these cities going to be expected to cover their security costs themselves? Meaning they won’t come out of the Calgary budget.

    I agree with the one contributor who suggested we, in fact, don’t have $4 billion to spend. But if we did, it should be split evenly throughout the province. On important projects such as affordable housing, seniors’ care, rapid transit initiatives. Then the other side of my brain says, wait a minute, all this money from the city, province and federal governments are coming out of all taxpayers’ pockets. So maybe everyone in Canada – to a certain degree – should have a say in distributing this $4 billion bonanza.

    Then I have another brainwave: we don’t even know how much money Edmonton and Ottawa will be willing to cough up for this event. And don’t forget the need to factor in inflation. And then what about the Victoria bus barns issue, which was recently thrust into the spotlight. Mary Moran from Canada 2026 brushed that one off quickly as a City program. Nice, now we have another project that’s going to take money away from important items like the police and fire budgets.

    I could go on. But it’s just making me more upset. We need to put a stop to this insanity, and vote NO on November 13.

  22. Calgary could spend their portion of the budget much more meaningful and fund the GREEN LINE TO THE AIRPORT! I don’t see any benefit of hosting the Olympics when only the land owners are paying much higher taxes to benefit the international group for a one week party. Let’s be sensible and take care of our city first. We don’t need any more increase in taxes than we have. We are one of the highest taxed cities in the land already! Also, the last Olympics in Calgary had a 50% overrun, and also to host the games now would be twice the cost . JUST SAY NO!

  23. I think it is time for a thorough examination of the city’s financial books. The city is becoming the largest business in the city and literally collecting our taxes and charging fees for service is their business. City council is completely out of control and literally driving us all into bankruptcy. The current city council is bullying those on council who are opposed to this Olympic bid, and given the problems economically in Italy and security problems in Sweden, we could wind up winning by default. Apparently we are about to be freight-trained with new property taxes due to the collapsing business tax revenues, there is a 30% vacancy rate in the downtown core — more if you consider the empty office space being paid for by shrinking E&P companies — and yet government never has an issue spending other people’s money. This needs to be voted down bigtime, and then we need to start working on holding city council more accountable.

  24. The IOC has shown repeatedly it can’t be trusted. This city council with a very few exceptions has shown it can’t be trusted. Mary Moran has shown she can’t be trusted. Vote NO.

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