BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - It's a question that's creating a big buzz around town. Could the Olympic games one day come to Buffalo?
One Canadian lawmaker wants to make it happen. Toronto City Councilman James Pasternak is serious about the idea, believing it could be a way to host the games without leaving the host city with a huge pile of debt.
Toronto has never hosted an Olympic games. But city leaders want to take a crack at it in 2024. Pasternak is thinking outside the box.
"The current Olympic bidding and hosting process is unsustainable, as cities can no longer afford to host a multi-billion dollar, two-week games," Pasternak argued.
The councilman says the answer to avoiding huge financial losses is avoiding stadium and facility construction. And his solution is a Great Lakes Games - Toronto, Buffalo, and possibly another Great Lakes city joint-hosting the Olympics.
"We believe that Buffalo, with its current sports facilities and resources, and of course with American government backing, could be a great partner," he explained.
Pasternak says the Olympic charter would have to be changed for the idea to be possible. Right now transnational Olympic bids are only allowed in the winter games, because of the need for a mountain range.
"It's not an easy thing. But I think we need creative ideas. We need new ideas. And we shouldn't close any doors," Pasternak said.
The decision on an Olympic games for 2024 is still several years away. But the Toronto City Council has a staff report due in October, so they'll be talking about it in the months to come. And Pasternak says he hopes Buffalo will be on board.
"I've been to Buffalo many times. I think it has great facilities. It is almost like a sister city to Toronto. I think it makes a great choice," Pasternak said.
The councilman would like to see a meeting in the near future between Toronto's and Buffalo's mayors and economic development leaders. He admits it would take a lot of political will between the two countries to make it possible.
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