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First Nations, Whistler, Vancouver explore 2030 Winter Games bid

Indigenous, municipal leaders announce memorandum of understanding for Winter Olympic bid
Chief Dean Nelson, of Lilwat First Nation, addressing attendees of a press conference announcing Indigenous and B.C. communities teaming to explore a 2030 Winter Games bid. (City of Vancouver Facebook screenshot)

A consortium of First Nations and municipalities will together explore the possibility of hosting the 2030 Winter Olympics.

Lilwat, Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh nations, alongside City of Vancouver and Resort Municipality of Whistler, announced a Memorandum of Understanding Friday (Dec. 10), which will see collaboration with the Canadian Olympic and Canadian Paralympic committees and other stakeholders to examine the effects and benefits of hosting another winter games, stated a press release.

The memorandum will see creation of a “Host Nations Exploratory Assembly for the consideration of a 2030 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games bid,” the statement said. The assembly will work with the committees to look into how feasible “2030 Games concepts for the region” are and will all in the group reviewing.

“The feasibility analysis will focus on collective benefits and priorities, and on how the bidding process can set frameworks for government partnerships.”

Vancouver and Whistler previously were the site of the 2010 Winter Games and while there was First Nations involvement, many leaders said it was lacking. The memorandum is a step in reconciliation, they said at the announcement at the B.C. Sports Hall of Fame in Vancouver.

“The difference between 2010, was we were an invitee at that time and today, we are a big part of the exploratory group … politically, presently, I feel we have a greater presence and a voice on our lands,” Chief Dean Nelson, of Lilwat First Nation. “I also feel we are in a better place of inclusion in respect to political advancements, since previous Olympics. That’s why I’m looking forward to be part of this.”

Kennedy Stewart, Vancouver mayor, said steps to examine a 2030 bid are much different than the situation in 2010.

“Where the 2010 games included Indigenous representation, the 2030 games cannot proceed without the free, prior and informed consent of these four nations … that is what the City of Vancouver is doing today with the signing of this historic MOU, [one] which at its core is four nations inviting two municipalities to explore hosting the 2030 Games on their territories,” Stewart said.

When asked about how the games would be funded, Stewart said it would be discussed as the process progresses, and that he has discussed the matter with the federal and provincial ministers.

“Like the last Olympic and Paralympic games, those costs will be spread across the various organizations … the benefit of having it in this region, of course, we already have many facilities that are all ready to go, as opposed to another city, where they’d have to build everything from scratch.” Stewart said.

READ ALSO: Team Canada unveils 2022 Winter Olympic apparel

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Karl Yu

About the Author: Karl Yu

After interning at Vancouver Metro free daily newspaper, I joined Black Press in 2010.
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