BC Place will host a number of matches when Vancouver co-hosts the FIFA World Cup in 2026 | Chung Chow
by Harvey Oberfeld
September 4, 2023
It’s one of the very few TV ads that actually has a residual affect on me each time I see it: kids revealing how they can’t concentrate or focus in school when they arrive hungry, having had no food at home for breakfast.
In BC. In Canada. Kids without food. In 2023. Outrageous … inexcusable … and avoidable!
If this is indeed happening, and impacting thousands of kids DAILY across the country, clearly school boards, municipal, provincial and federal governments have their priorities wrong.
Almost every day, we hear/see politicians at all levels announcing programs/spending/giveaways for all kinds of projects that most taxpayers would NOT regard as essential or even desirable or defensible during these tough economic times.
Especially if kids are going to school hungry!
While there are HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS available for BC to host just five games for the 2026 FIFA World Cup????
In 2021, NDP Premier John Horgan … in what could turn out to be his greatest folly … committed up to $260 Million in BC spending to host five FIFA games in Vancouver. (Toronto and Seattle will also host matches.)
And BC wasn’t even part of the original bid in 2018: Horgan bought in (literally) after Montreal dropped out … because of rising cost estimates. Smart Montreal!
According to Business in Vancouver, spending here will include “$73 million for security and safety, $40 million for venues, $20 million for the FIFA Fan Festival, $15 million for a host city office, administration and volunteer service, $14 million for traffic and stadium zone management, $8 million for decoration and brand protection, and $8 million for insurance. The budget includes a $52 million contingency.”
You can read the full BIV article here: https://biv.com/article/2023/08/vancouver-has-refused-share-its-host-city-contract-fifa-seattle-just-released
To host only five FIFA games!
(By the way, given current Canada and world-wide economic conditions, Edmonton recently withdrew its bid to host the 2030 Commonwealth Games and Victoria, Australia canceled plans to host the 2026 Commonwealth Games. That was REAL leadership by REAL leaders … concerned more about REAL people’s issues … rather than politicians spending hundreds of MILLIONS on short-duration boondoggles.)
Does anyone really believe, with FIFA’s blank-cheque powers to order changes/improvements to host city plans and facilities, the $260 BILLION budget will come in on target?
Interesting that, as BIV reported, the city and province have refused to make public …as Seattle has … the FULL contract with FIFA governing the deal in Vancouver.
The NDP government is allowing the City to add an extra 2.5% Occupation Tax on Vancouver’s already outrageous hotel prices until 2030 to recoup FIFA costs.
First, there is NO guarantee that will cover total FIFA costs.
And, if the government feels an EXTRA tax (does it ever end?) is defensible, I for one would rather see the money raised go to housing the homeless, funding our failing health services, addressing lagging education spending … or, how about providing breakfasts for those hungry kids!
The FIFA games in Vancouver will do little or nothing to help BC’s struggling young people, families or seniors.
Tourism officials readily admit that only a minority of those attending the matches will actually be from anywhere in BC: in fact, more than half won’t even be from Canada or the US.
It’s a $230 MILLION mistake … that Premier David Eby should pull the plug on … and refocus government priorities on the needs of the people of BC, not welcoming soccer fans, drunks and rioters from overseas.