The 2030 Barcelona-Pyrenees Olympic bid meets with opposition

Celebrated athlete Kílian Jornet among signatories of manifesto rejecting winter games in Catalonia

VilaWeb
VilaWeb / Catalan News Agency
15.11.2021 - 15:30
Actualització: 15.11.2021 - 16:30

Famed Catalan mountain runner Kílian Jornet and mountaineer Araceli Segarra are among the dozens of individuals, associations and local councils with ties to the Pyrenees who have signed the Plataforma Stop Jocs Olímpics manifesto (in Catalan) opposing the bid to host the 2030 winter games. Presented last week in Barcelona, the text argues that the Olympic bid does not take into account the needs and desires of Catalonia’s mountainous region and calls hosting them “gravely irresponsible” given the climate crisis.

As most Pyrenean ski stations rely on artificial snow, the group argues plans to host the Olympics will not be viable in the near future. “If we now channel all of this investment into snow tourism infrastructure, which has an expiry date, what will residents of the Pyrenees make a living from in 10 to 15 years?” spokesperson Bernat Lavaquiol asked.

Lavaquiol, who is also a far-left CUP councilor in the town of La Seu d’Urgell, recently interrupted president Pere Aragonès during a meeting with Pyrenean business owners, criticizing his stance on the games. The Catalan government’s support of the candidacy has been met with skepticism from certain sectors of the population who demand that the results of the referendum gauging approval among Pyrenees residents, the date of which is yet to be set, be respected.

Barcelona mayor Ada Colau had sought to have the Catalan capital participate in the vote but Lavaquiol stated that presidency minister Laura Vilagrà agreed to only let people who live in the Pyrenees do so. Vilagrà announced on Wednesday that the government would set aside €800,000 of the 2022 budget for this binding plebiscite.

Furthermore, rather than spend funds on hosting the Winter Olympics, Plataforma Stop Jocs Olímpics believes this money should go towards improving educational opportunities in the region as well as healthcare services, public transport, telecommunication networks, and links between towns and valleys. The manifesto’s signatories argue in favor of conclusively putting an end to the bid and focusing on diversifying the economy by investing in, for example, organic farming and craftsmanship.

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