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Toronto council could explore bid for 2022 Commonwealth Games

Amanda Ferguson | posted Monday, Mar 27th, 2017

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City council may explore whether Durban’s loss could be Toronto’s golden opportunity after the South African city was stripped of its right to host the 2022 Commonwealth Games last week.

Coun. James Pasternak has filed a motion, to be debated Tuesday, calling for the city’s Economic Development & Culture Division to investigate whether Toronto should enter the bidding process given its recent success as host of the 2015 Pan Am and Parapan Am Games.

“Toronto is ready to host this competition after successfully hosting the Pan American/Parapan American Games in 2015,” the motion reads.

“It is highly likely that no new venues would need to be built for the games which would greatly reduce any financial risk to the city.”

However, Bob Richardson, who was behind Toronto’s successful bid for the Pan Am Games, said the timing doesn’t work for another bid.

Most cities are given five to seven years to prepare as host of a multi-sport Games.

Durban was awarded the Games in September 2015 and was due to be the first African city to host the event.

Last week, David Grevemberg, chief executive of the Commonwealth Games Federation, said the city did not meet the criteria set by his organization and stripped it of its right to host. This came after months of the Durban government warning it may not have enough money to put on the event.

“The operational plans for [the] Games is huge,” Richardson said. “It’s a very, very tight timeline. I don’t think it’s feasible.”

Richardson said while a number of venues built for the Pan Am Games could be re-used for the Commonwealth Games, the city would need to scramble to build another athlete’s village.

The complexes built for the 2015 Games have been already converted into condos and student housing.

“It’s not a back-of-the-napkin kind of venture,” Richardson said. “The reason the Pan Am Games were successful is because we had that time and we had plans and it was well-executed.”

The Commonwealth Games are held every four years and feature athletes from more than 50 countries, mostly former British colonies.

Other cities have expressed interest in staging the 2022 edition, including Liverpool, London, England, and Edmonton. Grevemberg said an announcement on a new host city would be made by the end of the year.

Pasternak has not yet responded to a request for comment.

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