The 2012 London Summer Olympics have been a rousing success for England, and for the World. And as always around this time, there are those areas of the World that talk about pipe dream ideas of hosting the Olympics in their own city.
This year one, or two, depending on how you look at it, of those areas is the Greater Toronto Area and Buffalo.
Toronto Counciler James Pasternak brought up the idea of Toronto and Buffalo putting in a joint bid for the 2024 Olympics according to the Toronto Sun.
“If you could have a Great Lakes Olympics where you are having cities on the Great Lakes that are partnering for events – that not only makes sense geographically, from a logistical point of view, but financially as well,” Pasternak told the Sun, adding “Geographically Buffalo and Toronto are pretty close.”
While the benefits of Buffalo being a co-host of an Olympic event would be plentiful, there are just some things that I feel would completely kill any joy I would
feel about having them in Buffalo.
The biggest thing that dashes any true interest I have in bringing the games to Buffalo would be the thought of having buildings and stadiums built specifically for the games. The last thing I want in this area are even more abandoned buildings.
The cities who place bids for the games care so much about winning the bid, and putting on such a successful games that they rarely, if ever, consider what happens after the games end.
No one really thinks of how they could make the venues that need to be built more cost effective to the area, or what they would be used for after the games conclude.
Can the venues be re-used for multiple events? Can they become a permanent tenant for a team or event? Or, will they just become the giant white elephants in the room that become eye sores that fall apart.
Besides, where would this money come from?
The 2012 Olympics are costing the city of London more than 11-billon pounds, or $17,204,000,000 in U.S. Dollars. Think about that, over $17-BILLION. And in 2024, that cost will only be higher.
For the most part, my guess would be that Toronto would front most of the bill, but there is no doubt that the taxpayers living in the WNY area would have to come up with money for the events as well. It’s something that I just cannot justify. I mean, hell, we can’t even get a new stadium for our “beloved” Buffalo Bills built. How can one expect us to want to help pay for Olympic Stadiums that would likely be used for two weeks then become empty like those in Beijing and Athens.
Now, before you come at me, I know that most of the “major” events would be held in the GTA, but that doesn’t mean that things wouldn’t be needed to be built and/or renovated in Buffalo.
Although the city has hotels currently being built and will have more built by the time 2024 comes around, what the city currently has would not be enough to support the millions of people that would come into the area, nor would they be up to “olympic” standards. I just feel that the city has a lot of catching up
and renovating to do in order to be at an Olympic level, but that just may be me.
I’m not saying that if it actually happened I wouldn’t support it. In fact, that’s furthest from the case. I would 100% support my city more than I already do, if that’s possible. However, I think about the cost of the situation and the negative effects it may have on the area which presents a massive buzz kill.
The Olympic games are a world event which means increased military presence is a must. I don’t know about you, but I personally wouldn’t want the way I live my life altered because of a massive increase in military figures roaming around the area. This is a large over-exaggeration, but I don’t want to be followed my “Army Guys” and questioned when I’m just trying to by CO2 for my paintball gun. Again, I know that is a massive dramatization, but you get my point.
A big thing that I hate is the “big city” feel, and I know I’m not alone as many Buffalonians I talk to love the idea of being a small city as oppossed to something like Toronto, New York, or Chicago. With the Olympics in town, that would turn that around. Buffalo would no longer be a small town city anymore, it would be overcrowded beyond belief. Well, at least for a few weeks.
And it’s not only the time that the games are actually taking place that cause issues. The seven year build up to the games are some of the toughest years that an area as to deal with.
Often, a city attempting to win the bid will make outlandish and riduclous promises to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in order to win the bid. After securing the bid, many of these promises go unrealised. It’s like a politician who promises to cut taxes if elected, but then raises them after he wins. That’s something both Buffalo and Toronto have had a history with, and it’s something that could not happen if they are serious about getting the games.
Another big pre-Olympic issue is how the citizens of the city will act during the city’s preperation for the game. Many times, major changes to an area’s infastructure takes place during the build to the olympics; mainly in transportation. It often presents a severe inconvenience to local residents who now have to completely change what they do to make way for an event still years away. And if I know anything about the people of this city, it’s that they hate being thrown out of rythem. If someone has a routine, they want to stick to that, not be taking off it for something they have no part in.
In some cases, the time before the games can cost the locals access to things they normally would be allowed. A prime example is from the 2000 games in Sydney, Australia that Richard Cashman from the University of New South Wales puts forth:
“The creation of a 10,000 seat Beach Volleyball Stadium at Bondi Beach resulted in the partial closure of the Beach and the Bondi Pavilion – used for local cultural events – for six months from May to October 2000. The announcement that this sport would take
place at Sydney’s most famous and popular beaches led to local protests that community resources had been alienated for a large-scale temporary mega event.”
Cities who host the games will also have to deal with major public scrutiny from International media in many markets, especially those who lost out on the games that are coming up. These attacks will range from where the city is getting money from to what effect the “slum” areas of the city will have on the games.
Buffalo and Toronto would have to have a plan on how to deal with these types of problems should they arise which isn’t always the easiest thing to do. Transparency is a must for everyone involved in planning the games because even the littlest secret could pose serious problems for both WNY and the GTA.
Again, I’m not saying that I wouldn’t support the area if they were, in fact, serious about making a bid, I’m just saying that they may be biting off way more than they can chew if not fully prepared which may become the case.