Unlike his predecessor Régis Labeaume, who twice closed the door on a 2030 Olympic bid, Quebec Mayor Bruno Marchand has pledged his “phone will be open” if Vancouver resigns.
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The Vancouver-Whistler-Sun Peaks Olympic bid project, which has been supported by the Canadian Olympic Committee for the 2030 Winter Olympics (OG) for some time, has lost ground. A few days ago, the British Columbia government announced its decision not to fund this $3.5-$4 billion project.
Could Quebec City, fallen candidate for the 2002 Olympics, take over? Asked about such a possibility at a press conference, Mayor Bruno Marchand showed an astonishing openness that had not been seen in City Hall for a long time.
“My phone is open. If the Canadian Olympic Committee, which selected Vancouver for 2030, said that given British Columbia’s position, this is no longer possible and is looking for a partner, we will certainly discuss that,” he replied on Thursday.
The mayor reiterated that he was ready to “listen” and then dampened his enthusiasm, reminding that there are currently many issues to assess and more questions than answers.
“It shouldn’t put a strain on the city budget. It must be interesting […] You have to look at the financial aspects. Did you know that there are mountain related issues? What partnerships do we enter into? Is it possible? Is it financially sound? If the answers could be yes, do we have a chance? We will definitely evaluate it.”
Completely opposite Villeneuve
The leader of the opposition at City Hall, Claude Villeneuve, is staunchly opposed to the idea of exploring this route. “I don’t believe in that approach. […] If I have to be on a story like this Mayor Boucher from 2022, I’ll be happy to be. We remember that she was against it at the time. That’s a catch, that story,” he responded.
“The reality is that the IOC [Comité international olympique] finds no more cities that want to organize the Olympic Games. Nobody is interested anymore because it has become too expensive. I think if Quebec goes along with that, it’s not in Quebec’s interest, it’s in the IOC’s interest,” the Quebec chief added first.
Former Québec Mayor Régis Labeaume had flirted with the Olympic dream himself a few years ago. In 2016 he even traveled to Lausanne, Switzerland, to meet IOC President Thomas Bach in person. He later became disillusioned and felt the adventure was far too risky and costly.
“You mustn’t think about that. It doesn’t work, it’s utopian, it won’t happen. We don’t have the energy for it,” he explained last year, to nip in the bud a project by businessmen in the Quebec region trying to reignite the Olympic flame.