Calgary City Council have released an extra CAD$5.1 million of funding to help them carry out due diligence on a possible bid for the 2026 Winter Olympics ©Twitter

A Calgary City Council Committee has approved CAD$5.1 million (£3 million/$3.8 million/€3.3 million) of extra funding to help decide whether the city should pursue a bid for the 2026 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games.

The Calgary Herald reported that a vote to release the funds took place and more due diligence work can now be carried out.

The news comes before a visit by International Olympic Committee (IOC) members next week.

Part of the money will go towards a public engagement programme that will start in September, five months after it was originally supposed to begin.

According to the Council, the extra money will not come from the CAD$30 million (£17 million/$23 million/€20 million) that has already been dedicated to the possible bid but will instead come from existing city budget savings.

The overall pot will include CAD$3 million (£1.7million/$2.2 million/€2 million) which will be spent in advance of a possible plebiscite on the bid, expected sometime in November. 

"To have us as a city do due diligence to protect [our] best interests, to make sure that what the bid corporation is putting forward aligns with what the City of Calgary wants to have happen - it's not a bad way of putting insurance money out there," Councillor Peter Demong said, according to the Calgary Herald.

Calgary mayor Naheed Nenshi has said he is concerned that a referendum on a possible Olympic bid could be delayed ©Getty Images
Calgary mayor Naheed Nenshi has said he is concerned that a referendum on a possible Olympic bid could be delayed ©Getty Images

On Tuesday (July 24) councillors will have the chance to sit down and discuss any issues with IOC members over lunch.

The IOC delegation is also expected to meet with representatives from the Federal and Provincial Governments, plus the Calgary 2026 bid team.

One issue that could be discussed is the missed deadlines regarding Olympic cost estimates.

Detailed estimates, initially expected at the end of June, are not now expected until September, alongside the release of a cost-sharing agreement between key stakeholders and the Provincial and Federal Governments.

Mayor Naheed Nenshi has also raised the possibility of the plebiscite being delayed if negotiations on a multi-party agreement are not concluded in time for September.

"If we end up having to delay the plebiscite until January, two bad things happen: [one] is we spend all this money on the bid itself because we've got to keep going, [and] if the plebiscite were to fail, we would end up dropping out very late in the IOC's process, and that's actually really bad for the Federal Government and really bad for the Canadian Olympic Committee in terms of future bids," Nenshi said.

Elsewhere, around 300 people gathered at WinSport, the Calgary concert venue, for an information session run by Yes Calgary 2026, a campaign group supporting the bid.

The event's organiser Jason Riberio told the Calgary Times that the group wants to "clarify misconceptions" surrounding the benefits of bidding for the Games.

Calgary is one of five candidates worldwide currently considering a bid for the 2026 Winter Games. 

Stockholm in Sweden, Sapporo in Japan, Turin, Milan or Cortina D'Ampezzo in Italy and Erzurum in Turkey are the other contenders in the frame. 

The IOC's Executive Board is set to discuss the progress of all the prospective 2026 bids during their meetings here in Lausanne tomorrow.