DAVID BLACK: Greater Victoria’s 2022 Games bid fine-tuned, still alive

Reworked plan to be unveiled at home in advance of Commonwealth Games Federation submission

This is the first in a series of opinion columns detailing a restructured Victoria 2022 Commonwealth Games bid.

It is time to think carefully and factually about hosting the 2022 Commonwealth Games. Everyone knows the sporting events and arts festivals during the Games will be great fun, just as they were in 1994.

However, some people have voiced concerns about the negative affect of costs on local taxpayers. This note will prove otherwise and spell out the enormous financial benefits to be gained.

Firstly, the economics are not negative for Victoria taxpayers, they are entirely positive. Roughly $930 million would come into the city. Our cost for that will be only $7 million.

We will leverage some of the incoming money to build 2,000 badly needed affordable residences and $225 million of desired new athletic facilities. The jobs created by these capital costs of approximately $900 million will be significant for our construction industry and unions, especially if our current business cycle slows down.

Preparing and staging the Games would see an estimated $350 million spent at local businesses and $150 million would be paid out in additional new wages for Greater Victoria residents.

Research done by Brock Smith, a senior professor at the University of Victoria’s Peter B. Gustavson School of Business, indicates that the wages associated with the Games expenditures would support $100 million in new property tax revenues for our municipalities. That is a lot more than the $25 million of in-kind costs local jurisdictions have been asked to contribute.

The Games will also provide a catalyst to streamline transportation to the West Shore and fix the Colwood Crawl.

Furthermore, $75 million will be added to B.C.’s existing $25-million sport legacy fund. And last but not least, Canada, B.C. and Victoria will be able to promote themselves to a Games audience of more than 1.5 billion people, which will help local and regional tourism down the road as the 1994 Games did.

This 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.

If you are supportive of this tremendous opportunity for our region, please step up and let people know.

David Black is chair of the Victoria 2022 Commonwealth Games bid committee and owner of Black Press,

which publishes the News community media newspapers.

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