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Did you know that residents of Calgary refused to host the Olympic Winter Games 2026 in their city?

That was what finally happened last Tuesday, November 13, when the resident population of the city of Calgary democratically expressed their opinion through the plebiscite organized for this purpose.

The participation of the voters was cataloged as impressive, since a total of 304,774 Calgarians showed up at the locations designated for that purpose.

The final result showed that the Calgarians voted "no" against the option to offer their city as hosts of the future Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games 2026.

Of the great total of registered votes, 56% of votes represented the option "no" and the remaining 43% of the votes on their part was for the option: "yes".

It should be mentioned that Calgary hosted the 1988 Winter Olympics, so it has the necessary facilities, but the cost of the new construction required and the remodeling of the current ones was estimated to cost Calgary more than five billion dollars.

Taking in consideration the current scenario where unemployment in the city remains stubbornly stuck above eight percent. Where a quarter of the office space located at downtown are completely empty, we are talking about more than 12 million square feet of vacant office space.

Turning to be the hosts and sports headquarters of this global event seemed to represent a very good opportunity due: the activation of the local economy, the creation of jobs, and for the economic stimulation / diversification that is so required.

Now, in the absence of an Olympic candidacy, work will continue on an economic strategy that plans to make Calgary the "city of choice in Canada for the best entrepreneurs in the world."

In this respect, seven industries have already been identified where Calgary has a competitive advantage, which includes: energy, agribusiness, transport - logistics, tourism, creative industries, life sciences - health, and financial services.

Currently, we have worked with at least 75 companies this year that have decided to come to Calgary or stay in Calgary.

While popularly believed that the Olympic opportunity was unique in terms of its ability to sell the city on the world stage, the city will now focus on other options including: "the Canadian Country Music Awards" and "the Gray Cup, which will be held in said city during the year 2019.

Regarding the issue, the mayor of Calgary, Mr. Naheed Nenshi, who was a strong supporter of the bid for the Winter Games, admitted that he was deeply disappointed on Tuesday night, after the results obtained in the plebiscite.

In this regard, he said: "It's really a great loss for Calgary, Alberta and Canada, but people have spoken," then: "We have to accept the decision." "This was a great dream for Calgary and I still believe that we could have done a better job than the one done in 1988 and 2010, we would have had the opportunity to show the world the great community, city and country that we are."

"I consider the results very unfortunate, but we have to move forward and we must do it in a positive way and make an even stronger effort to think about our future."

"A lot of people worked very, very hard and I'm really incredibly grateful for the effort and the amount of people who still believe in this community."

Although Nenshi was skeptical about trying to run again in four years, he is considering Calgary for the Winter Games in 2030, explaining that seven competitive cities have already shown interest in this sporting event.

It should be noted that the offer of Calgary for 2026 was the most transparent offer at this stage of the process, because never in the history of the Olympic Games had a public tender been registered as it is.

For example, the offers in Sweden and Italy, the other two countries that compete for the Games, have not yet submitted their offers and even less have disclosed their budgets and proposals.

Although the project that it considered to receive to Olympic Games 2016 in Calgary raised an enormous increase of the employment and the investment in the city, that only would be possible in the long term.

And this was finally the great disagreement expressed by the community, as the residents of the city are not willing to wait years for the economic reactivation, but rather they have expressed that, although the budgets are smaller, they consider it more appropriate that these money can be invested in a short term or period of time.

Therefore it can be concluded that the current priorities of the community are not to look good compared to the rest of the world or the foreign look but rather they prefer that the city invests in: roads repairs - urban roads, schools construction - parks and more than anything else in the reactivation and well-being of the sluggish local economy.