Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi  remains in support of the Calgary bid ©Getty Images

Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi has criticised City Councillors for their decision to hold a vote to consider the future of the city's bid for the 2026 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Canadian athletes have also stepped-up their efforts to rescue the bid which is under serious threat. 

The Council passed a motion by a 9-1 majority earlier this week to formally vote on Monday (April 16) to consider the future of the project.

Nenshi, who was absent from the meeting due to a scheduling conflict, criticised the "shortsighted" nature of a decision he sees as "purely political".

"I think this is remarkably shortsighted, particularly when we’re looking at an investment that would be historic into the economy of Calgary at a time when we desperately need investment," Nenshi was quoted as saying by the Calgary Herald.

"If this fails, I think that many articles in many books will be written about what Calgary did wrong here.

"Let’s be blunt. It was purely political.

"A couple members of Council thought that at this moment enough of their colleagues are irritated that they might be able to get the eight [votes]."

A Council vote over whether to press ahead towards pursuing a bid last month had passed by eight votes to six, meaning that a switch from just one member would erase any majority.

Nenshi added that he believes it would be premature to abandon the bid before a full financial review.

"If I were a citizen watching all this, I would say, 'Guys, yeah, you need to slow down' - but you need to slow down on the opposition [too], so we really understand whether the Olympics are right for Calgary or not and what kind funding is coming in," he said.

"To strangle the opportunity to get that kind of funding and investment before we even know doesn’t seem to be a particularly prudent thing to do."

Canadian Olympians have stepped-up their attempt to boost support for the bid in recent days.

A media conference is due to take place tomorrow arranged by "Canada’s sport community including Olympians, Paralympians, professional and development athletes and sport leaders" in an attempt to influence the Council.

"Council, let’s vote YES and give the BidCo a chance to show the full business, sport and city benefits with a plebiscite for people to have their voice," tweeted four-time Olympic gold medallist Hayley Wickenheiser, who sits on the IOC Athletes' Commission.

Two-time Olympic bobsleigh gold medallist Kaillie Humphries was also active on social media, tweeting: "Calgary 2026 is a huge yes in my books!"

Others have posted similar messages.

Graz in Austria, Sapporo in Japan and Stockholm in Sweden are among the other contenders for the 2026 Winter Olympics.

They are joined by Sion in Switzerland, Erzurum in Turkey and a joint Italian bid from Milan, Turin and Cortina d'Ampezzo.

A host is due to be chosen in 2019.