FILE - The Olympic rings are seen during the closing ceremony of the 2022 Winter Olympics on Feb. 20, 2022, in Beijing. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko, File)

FILE - The Olympic rings are seen during the closing ceremony of the 2022 Winter Olympics on Feb. 20, 2022, in Beijing. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko, File)

B.C. won’t support bid for 2030 Winter Olympics

Bid was forwarded by an Indigenous-led team for the first time in history

B.C. is bowing out of the race to host the 2030 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, which would have forwarded the first Indigenous-led bid in history.

The province has been considering a bid put forward by four First Nations, Vancouver and Whistler for the last year, but announced Thursday (Oct. 27) it doesn’t believe now is the right time.

“I know that the prospect of hosting these Games is exciting to athletes and sports fans. However, the province has the responsibility to weigh the benefits with the costs and possible risks of the project. There are billions of dollars in direct costs, and potential guarantee and indemnity liability risks on this project that could jeopardize our government’s ability to address pressures facing British Columbians right now,” Lisa Beare, minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture and Sport, said in a statement.

The bid, driven by the Lilwat, Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh Nations, would have been the first one made by an Indigenous-led team in Olympic history. The games would have been hosted in Vancouver and Whistler.

The Canadian Olympic Committee issued a statement Thursday saying it was taking time to process the province’s decision and plans to respond on Friday.

“The Canadian Olympic Committee and Canadian Paralympic Committee feasibility team, working under the leadership of the Lil’wat, Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh Nations, believes in the strengths of this Indigenous-led process to bring the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games back to the region,” the statement said.

The City of Vancouver said it “understands and acknowledges the disappointment expressed” at the provincial government’s announcement.

“The Truth and Reconciliation Calls to Action around major event hosting will form an important part of our ongoing partnership for major events to be hosted in Vancouver, based on community, respect and inclusivity,” the city said in a statement.

The Resort Municipality of Whistler said it was disappointed the bid process ended without “fulsome, all-party analysis.”

“We have very much enjoyed working with the Lil’wat, Squamish, Musqueam andTsleil-Waututh on this inspiring effort,” the municipality said in a statement. “We remain committed to constructive dialogue and mutually beneficial partnerships going forward.”

Beare said she commends the leadership of the four First Nations and remains committed to putting reconciliation into action.

She said the province will be focusing on hosting the 2026 FIFA World Cup and 2025 Invictus Games.

READ ALSO: Indigenous-led bid for 2030 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, Whistler moving ahead

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