News / Calgary

Olympic field trip to PyeongChang 2018 a 'ridiculous' waste of city money: councillor

The City of Calgary is footing the bill for several politicians and bureaucrats to travel to the 2018 Olympic Winter Games

Elizabeth Cameron/For Metro

Elizabeth Cameron / Calgary Freelance

Elizabeth Cameron/For Metro

It's a pretty big field trip and Coun. Joe Magliocca is wondering why two provincial ministers aren't paying their own way to South Korea.

On Thursday, Calgary's offer to take provincial leaders to the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympics went public and now Deputy Premier Sarah Hoffman and Ricardo Miranda, Minister of Culture and Tourism, are dusting off their sports memorabilia to take a trip on the city's dime.

"I was very disappointed to read that Calgary taxpayers are going to be footing the bill of the provincial NDP health minister, culture minister attending the 2018 Olympics in South Korea – as well as the mayor and other bureaucrats," asked Magliocca.

"Why wasn't council made aware of this ridiculous waste of money?"

Although Premier Rachel Notley said their fact-finding mission isn't a nod in the direction of a 2026 Olympic bid, Mayor Naheed Nenshi was optimistic when he spoke Thursday.

"It's a pretty good signal, but I have not yet had final confirmation," he said.

Magliocca asked if this trip would include first-class tickets and a five-star hotel for the diligent fact finders.

"That million dollars we gave to you was to attract the NDP government, provincial government and federal government," said Magliocca. "Why are we sending them on our dime?"

Kyle Ripley, sponsor of Calgary's Olympic bid and director of Calgary Recreation said council gave his group an off-ramp of Feb. 1, by which time administration needs to garner support from all levels of government on a bid company.

"We shared a budget with council that indicated a line-item that included a cost for participation in the PyeongChang observer program," Ripley said.

"I'd like to remind council that if a BidCo does proceed there would be costs shared and ultimately the cost of the PyeongChang observer program would be shared."

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