Hamilton’s bid for the 2030 Commonwealth Games is touted as being a ‘ten-year city-building exercise’ according to members of the group spearheading the endeavour.
The city’s General Issues Committee heard from members of Hamilton100, the group who is organizing a bid to host the 2030 Games in the city on Wednesday (Nov. 6), about their efforts to date and what’s in store for the city in the months and potentially years to come.
P.J. Mercanti, Hamilton 100’s president and CEO, offered committee members an enthusiastic update on the efforts to put together a bid to host the Centennial Commonwealth Games.
The first games were hosted in Hamilton in 1930.
.@Hamilton100cg presented its 2030 #CommonwealthGames Plan to #HamOnt City Council today. It’s a strong, city building plan that will help Hamilton achieve its ”Renaissance“ vision.@thecgf @MacLeodLisa @SportCanada_EN
— Commonwealth Games Canada (@cgc_jcc) November 7, 2019
“This will be a 10-year city-building exercise,” Mercanti said. “This will be the largest engagement exercise in our city’s history.”
Mercanti was vehement in his assertion that the 2030 Games if hosted in Hamilton, will be the greenest games to date. The committee has vowed that new permanent sports facilities that are built for the Games will be energy and water-efficient and the creation of a rigorous recycling program with the goal of producing zero waste.
Hamilton 100 says that residences built to house 2030 Games officials will be converted to affordable housing when the Games are over, creating 500-700 affordable units.
“[We want to] help solve Hamilton’s most pressing issues,” Mercanti told the GIC, adding that they are fully cognizant of the city’s housing crisis and that they are inviting all community groups to engage with them to make sure these are Games “for everyone in our city.”
“[This effort] will see the entire city activated,” he said. “This will be a Games with a social impact.”
If the games bid is successful, the committee says remediation of Hamilton’s West Habour and the Bay will have to be carried out.
“To prepare for the Triathlon event, in which athletes will swim in the bay, we will be implementing an engineering solution to eliminate the blue-green algae and other pollution in the waters around Bayfront and Pier 4 parks,” Hamilton 100’s website says.
“This is a permanent solution – not a temporary fix – that will make it possible for Hamiltonians to have a clean, safe swimming area at Bayfront Park.”
This ambitious project will ensure future generations of Hamiltonians, Mercanti said, will enjoy and take pride in their city.
“These games will be a catalyst for social transformation,” he said.
The estimated price tag of hosting the 2030 Commonwealth Games currently sits at approximately $1.3 to 1.4 billion. These estimates are based on comparable Games event models for Birmingham 2022 and Gold Coast 2018.
The bulk of that figure, Mercanti says, would be covered by Federal and Provincial government infusions, as well as run-off economic benefits. He also pointed out that approximately 80 per cent of Games contracts are typically awarded to local companies.
Hamilton 100s presentation was favourably received by councillors who were enthusiastic in their support of the bid team’s vision.
I'm supportive of the city building & legacy potential of a #HamOnt 2030 #CommonwealthGames bid – but not sure how we can possibly complete the level of analysis required to justify a $1.4B taxpayer investment in 3 months…(staff will report back with complete bid by Feb 19). pic.twitter.com/kx2SpfPXvm
— John-Paul Danko (@JohnPaulDanko) November 7, 2019
Even councillor John-Paul Danko, who voiced his doubts about the economic benefits, said he’d been “moved from extremely skeptical to cautiously optimistic.”
Later in the GIC meeting, city staff provided a timeline for how the bidding process will happen over the next couple of months.
By Jan. 15, 2020, the city will know if we’ve been shortlisted to host the games. In the event Hamilton is shortlisted, the GIC will then meet again on Feb. 19 to discuss moving forward with the bid. Final bids are due to Commonwealth Games Canada no later than March 9, and the host city will be announced March 31.