Authorities to consult with Pyrenees residents over 2030 Winter Olympics project
Catalan government survey finds that 3 in 4 residents in mountainous region are interested in hosting the Games
The Catalan government will soon hold a consultation between the residents of the Pyrenees region over the possibility of hosting the 2030 Winter Olympic Games.
This was announced by the presidency minister, Laura Vilagrà, in a press conference following the first meeting of the Board of Territorial Representation of the Olympic candidacy.
A survey commissioned by the executive last month showed that 74% of those questioned find the possibility of hosting the Games 'interesting', and view the idea positively. A total of 1,506 people took part in the survey, 300 of whom were residents of the Pyrenees and the rest living in other parts of the mountainous region.
The final decision, however, will be taken based on the consultation in spring, which will take place between residents of the counties Val d'Aran, Alta Ribagorça, Pallars Sobirà, Pallars Jussà, Alt Urgell, and Cerdanya.
Laura Vilagrà said that the project could be a significant “boost” for the Pyrenees region, and hailed it as an important “economic opportunity.”
A significant social campaign against hosting the 2030 Winter Olympic Games has arisen over the past year, arguing that the event cannot be sustainable, and has even drawn the support of prominent Catalan mountain trekker Kílian Jornet.
This question over the sustainability and long-term impact of the project is the primary challenge authorities have in organizing the global sporting event, and Vilagrà was keen to emphasise that these worries are being taken into account.
In September, the government said they were considering abandoning the project if the locals were against hosting the worldwide event. As such, authorities will consult with locals in the spring to reach a consensus about how to proceed with the idea.
The minister stated that the plans of the Catalan government are to host a Games that would “respect biodiversity, the environment, and natural spaces,” while adding that they would not build large infrastructures that would go to waste once the two-week competition was over.
Vilagrà said they want the games to leave a “positive legacy,” and will so far continue with the project after their survey showed that three in four local residents view it positively. The survey found that people were interested in “internationalizing” the area, while also taking note of the dangers that hosting the Games also poses, including the cost of the games in both an economic and an environmental context.