The group organising Hamilton's bid for the 2026 Commonwealth Games has been given a September deadline by the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) to secure Government support.
In a letter to the Hamilton 2026 Commonwealth Games Bid Corporation, CGF President Dame Louise Martin says "the CGF has invested significant time and dedicated resources to support Hamilton in the development of its proposals", having been "working exclusively" with Commonwealth Sport Canada (CSC) over hosting the 2026 event.
"Due to the escalating importance of securing a host city, the CGF commits to continuing to provide this same support on the process for hosting the 2026 games, specifically to CSC and Hamilton, until the end of September 2020."
For support to continue beyond then, the CGF President warns that "the Bid Corporation will require a clear commitment and dedicated support from Hamilton City Council and Provincial and Federal Government Partners to work with you to develop a robust Candidate City Proposal.
"We believe there is an urgency needed, to capitalise on this unique opportunity and secure an extension of our support."
Hamilton was initially pursuing the 2030 Commonwealth Games, which would mark the 100th anniversary of the city hosting the inaugural Empire Games.
However, after being formally chosen as CSC's preferred candidate city over Calgary in April, the city was encouraged to pivot to 2026 as there is not currently seen to be a rival to host the Commonwealth Games in six years.
The Commonwealth Games Federation is actively supporting Hamilton's bid to host the 2026 Games. For that support to continue, however, a firm commitment is needed soon from Hamilton City Council, the province and the feds. @thecgf @CwthSportCAN #HamOnt #Hamilton2026 #ItsOurTime pic.twitter.com/29ldBoIaml— Hamilton2026 (@Hamilton2026CG) July 2, 2020
Adelaide had emerged as a candidate to host the multi-sport event, but dropped out of contention in September of last year.
In May, when the CGF published a report detailing examples of how the Games can boost revenue growth in a region by creating jobs, boosting tourism and accelerating development projects, chief executive David Grevemberg framed the 2026 Games as having the potential to be a post-coronavirus stimulus package.
However, with the pandemic forecast to bring about a deep global recession, convincing the various levels of Government to commit the public funds required to the Games may prove harder than ever.
In the letter, Martin states the CGF believes Hamilton "would be an ideal partner in hosting a modern and progressive 2026 Commonwealth Games.
"The Games returning to its place of origin would support the city and province in their recovery from COVID-19, as well as contributing to ongoing regeneration initiatives and the communities' long-term sustainability and prosperity agendas."
The GCF still hopes to name a host city for the 2026 edition of its flagship event later this year.
By sharing the letter, the Hamilton 2026 campaign no doubt hopes to apply pressure on Hamilton City Council, the Federal Government and the Government of Ontario to support its bid.