Public engagement likely next step as Calgary Olympic bid waters get murkier - 660 NEWS
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Public engagement likely next step as Calgary Olympic bid waters get murkier

Canada Olympic Park in the morning on Friday, March 31, 2017. (Photo by Chelsey Harms/660 NEWS)

The Olympic carousel continues to go round and round at City Hall and it can all be a little disorienting.

But the fact is at this point no real funding agreement with the province or the feds has been made public.

One of the big issues continues to be what public engagement will look like.

Mayor Naheed Nenshi insisted the process to date has been more transparent than any bid ever, but costs remain a big unknown.

A bid alone would cost $30 million split three ways between all three levels of government.

It’s expected public engagement would have to include that information.

“No one can say whether they want or don’t want the Olympics until they have those numbers in front of them, I believe, and we’ve got to keep working on those numbers so we have something to present to council and to Calgarians,” said Nenshi.

He said he’s heard a small number of people want face-to-face engagement, which he argued is easy to do.

“Most people were saying, ‘Give me as much information as possible online and make sure that I have the ability to give you my input online and that I know my input’s going to be heard,’ and so I imagine that an engagement plan would do that,” he said.

But Councillor Jeromy Farkas remained skeptical of the whole process.

“It just seems more now than ever we’re barrelling down towards a pre-determined outcome and really getting railroaded down this path, and I have to take exception with the fact that some members of council are being given more information or less than others,” he said.

He said if the city can’t properly manage the process this far out, what makes them think hosting the games would be any different.

“I haven’t even started on the IOC, I’m not at all confident that they’ve addressed some of the issues around corruption, around sexual harassment and around doping,” he said.

Farkas wants something binding to come out of engagement.

“The idea of perhaps hosting a few town halls on this sort of event, the scale, is just not acceptable,” he stressed. “It falls well short”

The timeline for a plebiscite is tight but do-able, and would come in at cost of about $2 million.

Olympic debate was added to the end of council’s agenda Monday. Day two of that meeting is Tuesday.