The Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) has welcomed interest from Victoria in potentially bidding for the 2026 Commonwealth Games.
Victoria’s potential effort for the 2026 Commonwealth Games comes amid uncertainty over another Hamilton in Canada's proposed bid for multi-sport event.
An editorial from David Black, chair of the Victoria B.C. Commonwealth Games bid team, said the province could benefit from hosting the multi-sport event as it attempts to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Black claims hosting the Games would provide a boost to people seeking employment, as well as supporting local businesses and promoting tourism in the Canadian city.
He said the Games would dramatically increase British Columbia’s tourism over the next two decades, claiming two billion people would watch the Games.
"Our province needs that," Black wrote in the Vancouver Sun.
"If we don’t do it, B.C. and its cities and towns will have huge deficits because all tourist facilities will be in trouble.
"B.C. tourism was worth CAD$22 billion (£12 billion/$17 billion/€14 billion) in the year before COVID-19, and the B.C. Government collected CAD$2 billion (£1.1 billion/$1.5 billion/€1.3 billion) in taxes from tourism businesses.
"The Games will bring that back, and no doubt increase tourism by at least 10 per cent.
"Therefore, the B.C. Government will get at least CAD$200 million (£113 million/$158 million/€130 million) more in taxes every year after 2026.
"The 2026 Commonwealth Games will be far larger and more profitable than the 1994 Games we hosted in Victoria."
Black said the Bid Committee is proposing a budget of CAD$1 billion (£570 million/$790 million/€650 million) for the Games, which would be provided by the Canadian and British Columbia Governments, as well as from streaming advertising.
Black, the executive chairman of Black Press Media and a director of the Victoria 1994 Commonwealth Games, said the Governments would get half their contribution back through taxes in the build-up to the Games, with the remainder recouped through increased tourism.
The bid would reportedly see the construction of 2,000 new apartments for the 8,000 athletes, which would become "affordable rentals after the Games".
The Bid Committee has also suggested building another Commonwealth pool, a major ice arena, a field house and a new cycling track, as well as hockey, lacrosse and cricket fields.
A 2,000-metre rowing facility and upgrades to existing venues have also been suggested.
"We will have one Games sport in Vancouver, two in Richmond, and at least one in every Victoria-area municipality," Black wrote.
"We will provide funds for each municipality as a result, and all citizens will enjoy being closer to the sport competitions than we were able to achieve in 1994.
"The Games and their facilities will also be wonderful for our athletes and for following generations of British Columbians.
"The housing and the new sport facilities will surely be required as Victoria continues to grow.
"Gaining them as a result of the Games will save Victoria, B.C. and locals from having to pay for the facilities themselves over the next 20 years.
"After the Games, they will be transferred for free to the municipalities and universities.
"In summary, the 2026 Commonwealth Games will help our province, its businesses, and its citizens enormously.
"We are optimistic that the B.C. Government will agree in principle.”
The Games have not taken place in Canada since Victoria 1994.
Victoria had hoped to put a bid together to replace Durban as host of the 2022 Commonwealth Games after the South African city were stripped of the event following its failure to meet a series of financial deadlines.
The Provincial and State Governments refused to back the proposal, though, and the Games were awarded instead to Birmingham in England.
A decision on whether the Ontario Government will back a bid from Hamilton to host the Commonwealth Games is expected shortly.
It remains unclear what the decision will be and, if Ontario does agree to back the bid, whether it will be for 2026, 2027 or 2030.
The Ontario Government is reluctant to back a bid for 2026 because it wants to concentrate on ensuring the province is chosen as a host city for the FIFA World Cup due to take place that year in the United States, Canada and Mexico, but has indicated it may support hosting in 2027.
"The CGF is aware of interest from Victoria B.C. in hosting the 2026 Commonwealth Games and cognisant that discussions are taking place around using the multi-sport event as part of the post pandemic recovery plan for the Province," a CGF spokesperson said.
"The CGF welcomes the positive interest from Victoria B.C. in the Games while we continue to work closely with Commonwealth Sport Canada on the prospect of bringing the competition back to the country in the near future."
The CGF said in November that it remained in talks with Australia, Canada and Sri Lanka over potential bids for the 2026 Commonwealth Games.