Four First Nations in British Columbia are looking to bring the Olympics back to the province.
Líl̓wat, Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh officials joined the mayors of Vancouver and Whistler on Dec. 10. The parties gathered to announce a partnership and explore bidding for the 2030 Winter Games.
It will be the first Indigenous-led Olympic bid—if it happens.
“I think this is a big part of reconciliation, of moving forward,” Musqueam Chief Wayne Sparrow told reporters.
Signing historic memorandum
The two municipalities hosted the 2010 Winter Games.
“We have been at this place before in the 2010 Olympics where we showcased our presence and our cultures respectively,” said Líl̓wat Chief Dean Nelson.
“The difference between 2010 (and 2030) is that we were an invitee, and today we are a big part of the exploratory group to explore a bid for the 2030 Olympics.”
Kennedy Stewart, Vancouver mayor, emphasized that the four First Nations have spearheaded the potential bid, not the two municipalities.
“Four inviting two, not two inviting four,” he said. “Today is a historic day, but there is a long way to go.”
He also added the bid is only at an exploratory phase.
“But no matter what is decided by the Indigenous peoples represented here today, Vancouver will continue to walk this different and unfamiliar path as we continue to put reconciliation into action.”
Vancouver mayor also said that any potential bid would still need approval from the city council.
“Today, we think of the canoe leaving the shore,” he said.
The group will work with the Canadian Olympic Committee and the Canadian Paralympic Committee.
The next considerations are the costs and benefits for the communities involved.
Although costs will get reviewed during the feasibility study, Stewart has spoken to ministers already. Both federal and provincial representatives reacted favourably to the bid.
Stewart thinks that most of the infrastructure from 2010 is still in use today. But discussion of which facilities are suitable for use again has yet to happen.
“This announcement fully aligns with our process and our commitment to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s call to action and is an important first step toward exploring the feasibility of bringing the Olympic and Paralympic Games back to the region,” said Tricia Smith, president of the Canadian Olympic Committee.
A decision on submitting a formal bid to the International Olympic Committee will most likely happen in the fall of 2022.