What What needs to be considered for a potential bid from a security prospective?
Having held the Olympics in 1988, Calgary has successfully managed a secure and safe Olympic Games in the past. However, the games and the world at-large have changed since then. A key difference is that the number of events and participants has nearly doubled, and will likely grow further come 2026. With this increase, there is a corresponding surge in the number of visitors coming to watch the Games and take part in the festivities. The complexity of a balanced security solution lies in being able to create a safe and secure environment for all those who engage with the Games, without dampening the Olympic spirit.
Clearly, security for major events has changed since 9/11. Horrible incidents like these and similar events have changed how security is thought of, highlighted some significant vulnerabilities and demonstrated potential consequence. Security planners have responded to those realities when preparing for major events and each of these experiences have become a building block in a growing foundation of major event security knowledge.
It is difficult to compare security approaches from other Games because each of them had their own unique characteristics and challenges. For example, Vancouver 2010 had to deal with the reality that Canada was actively engaged in military action in Afghanistan at the time. Vancouver also had ocean and inland water access issues Calgary would not have to deal with. Our approach is to look at specific strategies and best practices from major events such as the 2010 Vancouver Games and the 2015 Toronto Pan Am Games and see how they would apply in a Calgary context.
As CBEC’s exploration has progressed, security cost has been raised as a point of concern. Our goal is to produce a security framework that is fiscally prudent without compromising the safety and security of those who attend the Games and of Calgarians in general.
There are, however, some basic challenges inherent with trying to build a security framework for an event nine years away. The obvious one is the threat environment, which is constantly changing with local and international geopolitical events beyond our control. Technology is another critical component in the exploration and a standing challenge as technology will change considerably between now and 2026. In considering technological threats, cyber security also becomes an essential element in our considerations.
A Calgary-specific security approach to an Olympic Games would need to strike a perfect balance: offering a security framework that is fiscally prudent without compromising the safety and security of those attending the games and Calgarians as a whole. The Committee has assembled a team with extensive security expertise and a proven track record of managing security for major international events such as the G8 Summit in 2002. Through examination of past Olympics, international best practice, smart resource allocation and technology utilization, CBEC is developing a safety framework that will strike the right balance of managed risk and efficient spending.