The Park Record’s 2022 Voter Guides for Summit County Council Seats D & E feature a question referencing MMC’s recent Community Conversation series – The Utah Olympic Bid: A Summit County Listening Project.
The candidates running for Seat D are incumbent Chris Robinson and Holly McClure.
The candidates running for Seat E are Canice Harte and John “Jack” Murphy.
The question and their responses are below.
Representatives from the County Courthouse and City Hall have started a community conversation and listening series about Utah’s Olympic bid. Officials hope a 2030 or 2034 Winter Games would provide access to funding to advance areas such as transportation and housing. Please describe one step you would take to ensure Summit County is prepared for a future Olympics and two other priorities heading into a possible Games.
Robinson: I was privileged to serve as a trustee for the 2002 Olympics. They were a huge success. We garnered international attention and respect.
A second Winter Olympics comes at a different time and circumstance. We are firmly planted on the world map and we don’t need more notoriety.
Unlike many host cities, our 2002 Olympic legacy is alive and well. Our venues are still very viable and have trained hundreds of young Olympians.
The best way to prepare for another Winter Games is to complete the conversation and listening series and to arrive at a shared community compact on why we want to host another Olympics and our goals for doing so. This compact should outline how the Olympics will serve as a catalyst for funding and implementing some of our heavy infrastructure lifts.
Once (if) we have agreed upon a community compact, we should create: (i) a Summit County/Park City organizational structure to shepherd the process and to negotiate the outcomes we desire, and (ii) detailed plans for what we as a community need in order for the Games to be a win-win for all involved, especially for our residents who at present are suffering from event fatigue.
McClure: I’m no fan of Olympic bids. As far as I can tell, they cost taxpayers billions of dollars before and after the games, with no benefit. The trend of the past several years is one where cities have been declining to make bids to host for this very reason. The Olympic Committee sells hosting as a boon to both infrastructure and tourism, yet the evidence demonstrates that tourism actually declines in games years. Even if tourism did increase — are we suffering in Summit County from a lack of tourism? Further, the infrastructure put in place to support the games has ongoing maintenance costs that last in perpetuity. Most cities struggle to afford this. Beijing has been famously scavenging its beautiful “nest” coliseum for construction materials because its regular use doesn’t generate enough income to cover the maintenance costs.
That said, I am not running for County Council to impose my personal ideas upon the people of Summit County. If elected, I would participate in the listening sessions and would serve our residents faithfully in the capacity that they desire, but they should be aware that I would not personally champion an Olympic bid.
Harte: We need to deepen our efforts around community outreach and listening sessions. Hear where people sit on the issue, lessons learned from 2022, what the priorities of the community are and how we can bring our collective ideas to fruition.
A priority will be to extract as many benefits as possible that will remain after the games are finished. How we move people around during the games can help us to address some of our critical transportation issues. But this must be done within a broader context of approved and planned development so that we’re looking at the needs and goals of our county and incorporating that as much as possible into transportation upgrades needed for the Olympics. Another priority is making sure the games are accessible for all Summit County residents – particularly our service industry and essential workers who are the backbone of our community. Finally, the environmental impacts of the Olympics are a key consideration that must inform decisions made around transportation, housing, waste management, etc. We have the potential to be a leader in this area while also advancing our own goals around carbon emissions and sustainability.
- Summit County benefited from the 2002 Olympic Games (I agree with Doug Clyde on most of his assessment)
- Majority of benefits are a one-time event, literally and figuratively
- additional Olympics hurt small businesses and local community
- exacerbate our deteriorating quality of life
- lower tourism
- stipends for lowered tourism flow to companies that host not:
- small and local businesses
Click here to read the rest of the SEAT D article on the Park Record website
Click here to read the rest of the SEAT E article on the Park Record website