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It’s deja vu all over again as Oak Bay’s David Black, owner of Black Press, a newspaper group with approximately 180 publications, is heading the committee to bid for the 2022 Commonwealth Games.
He appears to be stealing a page from the very successful 1994 Victoria Commonwealth Games including keeping the budget small in comparison to other games, suggesting the building of new facilities as well as the benefits of a potential legacy from hosting the games. Not a bad platform to campaign on.
The city has until Friday to officially enter the race against two English cities, Liverpool and Birmingham. Manchester hosted the games in 2002. The Commonwealth Games Federation is based in London.
“It’s good to go. We have a solid, practical and prudent budget plan. I am quite pleased with where we have gone with this,” he said.
Birmingham and Liverpool were aiming for 2026 until Durban, South Africa lost their right to host.
In March, the Commonwealth Games Federation took the winning bid away from Durban. Durban would have been the first African city to host the games. Other cities who have stepped in to take on the games include Kuala Lumpur, a previous host as well as Sydney, Melbourne, Perth and Adelaide.
Toronto initially had a bid but city staff recommended that they not go ahead because of risks of potential high costs. They did host the 2015 Pan American Games with success.
Commonwealth Games Canada has submitted a request to the federal government for support. A decision on that request is pending. Black said he is confident of federal support.
Greater Victoria is a sport and recreation mecca and is the home of at least a dozen national teams or sports which include mountain biking, triathlon, rugby and cycling for example.
Victoria benefited from the ’94 Games with a legacy fund that continues today. The interest of which is used to host or support national and international competitions, it is dubbed ’94 forward, formerly SportHost.
Saanich Commonwealth Place proves to be a popular legacy from those games as does the velodrome for cycling. Currently, downtown Victoria needs a new civic pool to replace Crystal Pool on Quadra Street. The University of Victoria’s Centennial Stadium is getting a new surface to the track, which is long overdue. UVic recently built the jaw-dropping, $77 million CARSA facility. Meanwhile the relatively new Pacific Institute for Sport Excellence (PISE) is a hub for international athletes.
The 2018 Commonwealth Games will take place April 4-15 in Gold Coast, Australia.
Black told CFAX radio that the Commonwealth Games have proven to be most successful in cities the size of Victoria.