Remember Halifax’s $1billion Commonwealth Games bid?

Contrarian reader John Stone does:

Soccer CorporatizationA few years back, a shadowy group of Halifax fat cats called The Bid Society, lead by Fred MacGillivray, tried to coerce three levels of government into supporting a $1 billion bid to host the 2014 Commonwealth Games.

Fortunately the bid was withdrawn before we were committed as taxpayers to writing the blank check. It became the first time a Canadian city had ever withdrawn a bid for these games.

I also remember the public chastisement Mr. MacGillivray gave the province and the city for backing out.

The City of Glasgow, Scotland was “lucky” in winning the bid for those games.

Seven years later, the Commonwealth Games are due to begin next month, and the Independent newspaper reports:

The Games are set to cost £563m [CDN$1.038 billion] – nearly £200m [CDN$369m] more than originally planned when the city’s bid beat Abuja in Nigeria in 2007.

The event has been hit with a trebling of security costs, as well as the opening and closing ceremonies requiring a budget increase of nearly half.

Concludes Stone:

There but for cooler heads might be us lowly Halifax taxpayers, trying to scrape up another $369 million, on top of a billion we already couldn’t afford.

Every once in a while our elected officials do something stupendously right.

Without endorsing Mr. Stone’s characterization of the bid promoters, which I find unhelpfully harsh, I was glad when Halifax withdrew its bid, and I’m only gladder in retrospect. – Pa

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