Does Mississauga Want Toronto to Get the Olympics?
A few short days ago, I woke up a City of Mississauga press release sharing Mayor Bonnie Crombie's measured statement regarding Toronto's possible (and controversial) Olympic bid.
According to the release, this is what the mayor had to say:
"Before deciding on whether or not Mississauga would support a Toronto bid to host the 2024 Summer Olympics, my Council would need to first study a comprehensive business case which details the budget implications and financial requests Mississauga taxpayers would be asked to commit to as part of this collective effort.
"We would also want to engage residents and hear directly from community groups and local businesses, about whether or not an Olympic bid makes sense for Mississauga as we continue building our City's promising future.
"With the ongoing public debates, I have asked that this matter be added to Council's General Committee meeting set for Wednesday, September 9, 2015.
"Hosting the Olympics is an enormous responsibility which will have lasting implications for communities across the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area - long after the games have concluded. I need to know what those implications will be for Mississauga."
An Olympic bid is a big deal, but not as big a deal as the potential for that bid to succeed. If TO manages to capture the 2024 Summer Olympics (and summer? Really?), the games -- often fraught with controversy regardless of where they're held -- will be most certainly be costly. They might also be inconvenient, stressful and hard on the city's landscape, residents and infrastructure.
According to Charles Pascal's editorial in The Star, the potential benefits -- the prestige, the elevation of the city's profile, the contagious love of competition -- will probably be outweighed by an egregiously bloated budget that will spiral out of control due to unpredictable security concerns alone. He also argues that all that money could, quite simply, be put to better use.
While cost is most certainly a concern for everyone -- obviously Crombie is concerned, and rightfully so -- some argue that the world-famous games are an honor and a privilege and should produce nothing but excitement.
In this Star editorial, Bob Hepburn says that winning the bid will lead to improvements in infrastructure, developed underused parts of the city, spur economic development and show off our local art and culture scene.
There are indeed benefits to hosting -- namely the chance to create a cultural and historical landmark in the form of an Olympic Village and up the city's steadily growing prestige -- but there are detriments too. The games will be expensive. They will be inconvenient. They will most likely be wrought with in-fighting, cost explosions, bureaucratic headaches and sniping among residents and elected officials.
So, Mississauga, what do you think? Even if the Olympics aren't in Mississauga, we will most likely have a few Olympic events here and anyone who travels to TO for work or pleasure will be impacted by the games and the years-long prep.
Do you think Toronto should make a bid this month?
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