Hamilton 2026 has admitted it will miss a Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) deadline to secure commitment from municipal, provincial and federal partners due to the "magnitude of the work being undertaken".
The Hamilton 2026 Bid Corporation and Commonwealth Sport Canada had been given until the end of September to maintain "exclusive" backing for their project from the CGF.
For the dedicated support to continue beyond then, CGF President Dame Louise Martin warned in June that Hamilton 2026 "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".
A letter sent by Hamilton 2026 bid chair Lou Frapporti to Hamilton Mayor Fred Eisenberger and members of the City Council acknowledges the work being undertaken will mean the deadline will be missed.
Frapporti highlighted a public consultation and work on finalising the business case for staging the Games as key next steps, with the hope a non-binding letter of support could be received in principle by the end of October.
He also expressed confidence that Hamilton 2026 will retain its exclusive support after insidethegames exclusively revealed the deadline could be extended if the CGF has seen enough progress by the end of September.
Yesterday we issued a letter to members of #HamOnt City Council to provide supplementary information on a number of questions asked by members of Council following our presentation on August 10.— Hamilton2026 (@Hamilton2026CG) August 25, 2020
Read the full letter: https://t.co/IKv3oZiQec pic.twitter.com/hHL4NalvfD
"Given the magnitude of the work being undertaken and still required, including the importance of adequate public consultation, we do not expect to return to Council with a proposal and a request for staff assessment until October,” Frapporti wrote.
"Notwithstanding this, we have not asked the Federation to extend their grant of exclusivity beyond the end of September in order that we not further complicate their governance process or adversely impact their fiduciary duty to their global associations particularly in light of the fact, confirmed by independent news sources after the August 10th meeting, that other countries are in fact interested in hosting the 2026 Games.
"Having said that, we are confident that the issuance of a non-binding letter of support in principle by the end of October will preserve this opportunity for the City of Hamilton allowing the city to further assess and deliberate upon the opportunity.
"This additional time will be required, as referenced above, to finalise work around a business case that anticipates the necessity of clearly defining the objectives of this initiative as it relates to better resourcing and supporting government efforts in the area of pandemic recovery and sustainable regeneration, particularly at the provincial level.
"Our intention, as communicated by all presenters on August 10, is to give our region and all levels of Government a potent new weapon to accelerate our recovery and to create a vehicle for more effective and impactful communication between the citizens of this region, the City of Hamilton, the Province of Ontario and the Government of Canada in their efforts to do so."
Frapporti also said the bid committee took "comfort" from CGF chief executive David Grevemberg telling insidethegames last week that the dedicated support for Hamilton 2026 could carry on past the end of September, and the bid team's failure to gain Government guarantees by that date would not spell the end of the project.
Hamilton Mayor Fred Eisenberger warned earlier this month that the Canadian city will work to "its own timelines" in deciding whether to formally support a bid for the 2026 Commonwealth Games.
Hamilton was initially pursuing the 2030 Commonwealth Games, which would mark the 100th anniversary of the city hosting the inaugural edition of the event, then called the British Empire Games.
But the CGF instead encouraged Hamilton to switch its focus to 2026 as it was the only bidder.
Grevemberg has since claimed the organisation has received strong interest from Australia and India in hosting the Games.
Frapporti’s letter to Eisenberger sought to provide further details in response to questions asked at a City Council meeting earlier this month.
This included questions regarding timeframes, budgets and potential cost overrun scenarios regarding the Games.
Frapporti said the bid corporation would welcome further "engagement and dialogue", claiming it would be a "missed opportunity of historic proportions" if the City decides against participating in a non-binding process.
"In the event that senior levels of Government do not provide letters of support, or that a universally successful MPA cannot be negotiated, this process will conclude,” Frapporti wrote.
"But should senior levels of Government be prepared to engage in a conversation with the City of Hamilton and surrounding communities as to how to leverage this opportunity for transformative, regenerative change, particularly in the area of affordable housing, we would view the City pre-emptively foreclosing further participation in a non-binding process for which it has not been asked for funding and has made no financial commitment to date as a missed opportunity of historic proportions."