Update: City's spends $90,000 to send delegation to Pyeongchang Winter Games
Four executives and four observers are headed to the Olympics
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A one-week trip to the Olympics for city officials is going to cost taxpayers $90,000, and the province will spend $40,000 to send two MLAs.
This week Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi and several city officials left for Pyeongchang on a fact-finding mission to the Winter Games in Korea.
The city's money is part of a council-approved $400,000 budget for international relations, marketing, communications, engagement and the trip, officially dubbed the Pyeongchang Observer Program.
Deputy Premier Sarah Hoffman is travelling with the mayor, as is Canmore's mayor, and they will be meeting with government officials, attending trade meetings and participating in a sustainability roundtable meeting.
After Hoffman and the mayors leave Korea on Feb. 14, Culture and Tourism Minister Ricardo Miranda will be taking his own week-long trip, leaving Feb. 18 and returning on Feb. 27. The province stated their spending will promote "tourism and trade."
One of the most vocal opponents of Calgary's proposed bid for the 2026 Winter Games says it looks like a big party to him.
"My stance hasn't changed...how can we honestly do that? I don't get it," said Coun. Sean Chu. "It's very frustrating."
He said the governrment is asking citizens for more money for the carbon tax, yet spending cash left and right. He said he's getting countless emails from citizens who don't want to host the Games.
"Somebody needs a legacy, and I think this is a legacy [project]," said Chu, referring to Mayor Naheed Nenshi.
The City of Calgary hasn't committed to a bid yet, but officials are in Korea as part of the tailor-made IOC program that lets cities see Olympic operations in real time. Calgary's decision is expected in the spring.
“The 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics offer an opportunity for Alberta to engage with South Korea, not only as a priority trade and investment market but as an important cultural partner,” Hoffman said in press release.