Saanich will not host Canada’s national training centre for rowers like Caileigh Filmer and Hillary Janssens, 2018 world champions in the women’s coxless pair. The national training centre will instead go to North Cowichan. (Rowing Canada/Merijn Soeters)

North Cowichan will host national rowing centre starting October 2020

Saanich’s bid for national rowing centre at Elk Lake sunk

A bid to bring Rowing Canada’s national training centre to Greater Victoria has failed, but another part of Vancouver Island is celebrating.

Rowing Canada Aviron (RCA) announced Wednesday that North Cowichan will host its future national training centre, with national team athletes training at Quamichan Lake.

Rowing Canada plans to establish a permanent national training centre in the area by October 2020.

The Greater Victoria municipality of Saanich was one of five communities that submitted formal proposals in September 2018, with a bid from the Victoria City Rowing Club (VCRC) making the shortlist.

RELATED: Blue-green algae blooms could sink bid to host national rowing centre in Saanich

“We are delighted to have found such a willing and supportive partner in North Cowichan,” said RCA Chief Executive Officer, Terry Dillon. “From our initial conversations, it was clear that they shared our vision for creating a home for our National Team programs. We look forward to working together in the coming months and years.”

Jennifer Walinga, who chaired the selection committee, said North Cowichan was the best fit when held up against the five performance criteria identified by coaches, athletes, alumni, technical experts and other members of the rowing community: year-round training availability; course length; lake size; priority access; and water quality.

“The biggest factor that Elk/Beaver Lake could not meet was priority access,” she said. “It’s a really busy lake,” she said. In other words, Saanich could not offer the kind of access necessary to avoid competing against other users.

A technical report had raised concerns about the ecological state of Elk/Beaver Lake thanks to the frequency of blue-green algae blooms. Walinga acknowledged this report, but said its ecological state was not the decisive factor against Saanich, she said. The chosen site has similiar issues that need to be addressed, she said. Other factors worked against Saanich, she said.

North Cowichan, meanwhile, is currently investing in water quality testing at Quamichan Lake by engaging a local biologist and researchers from the BC Institute of Technology to sample water in the Lake and develop recommendations for Council’s consideration. The Municipality is committed to supporting the health of Quamichan Lake and the people using it.

“North Cowichan is extremely pleased to be the new home for Rowing Canada Aviron,” said Mayor, Al Siebring. “We are a region of sport, recreation, and love of the outdoors. With its focus on health, sport, and excellence, Rowing Canada is exactly the partner that we want in our community. We know it will be a significant undertaking for Rowing Canada to build a new home, and our community will be with you on that journey.”

Local reactions to the announcement on the south Island expressed disappointment.

“We knew that Rowing Canada was looking for a permanent training location and of course were hoping that Elk Lake would be chosen,” said Saanich Coun. Susan Brice. “Saanich Council has sent a letter of support. Some of the technical requirements such as sanctioned course length were always a challenge, and it seems that the decision makers felt that they would have a better race training option at Cowichan. Hopefully there will continue to be some over-lap with in the two facilities.”

The decision appears as a temporary blow to attract sports-related economic activities, but Brice does not think so.

“Victoria will continue to provide year round training opportunities for Triathlon and other similar athletic endeavours,” she said. “Tourism Victoria continues to seek out opportunities for sports related events and training.”


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

wolfgang.depner@saanichnews.com

Just Posted

RDN dealing with high interest in backyard cannabis production

New policy proposed to address challenges with Health Canada licences

Vancouver measles outbreak prompts vaccine vigilance on Island

No cases here yet, but Island health authorities push measles vaccinations - and not just for kids

Oceanside RCMP members take the plunge for Special Olympics

Some members of the Oceanside RCMP detachments took the plunge freezing waters… Continue reading

Jeep bursts into flames on highway near Nanoose Bay

Emergency crews responded to blaze at approximately 9:15 a.m. on Tuesday

‘Riya was a dreamer’: Mother of slain 11-year-old Ontario girl heartbroken

Her father, Roopesh Rajkumar, 41, was arrested some 130 kilometres away

Trudeau takes personal hit amid SNC-Lavalin controversy: poll

Overall, 41 per cent of respondents believed the prime minister had done something wrong in the affair

B.C. photographer captures otters on ice

A Langley photographer was at the right place at the right time on the Fraser River

Unplowed Roads parody song destined to be a classic

Move over Weird Al, Island elementary students on the same level

Do you live with your partner? More and more Canadians don’t

Statistics Canada shows fewer couples live together than did a decade ago

B.C. child killer denied mandatory outings from psychiatric hospital

The B.C. Review Board decision kept things status quo for Allan Schoenborn

Searchers return to avalanche-prone peak in Vancouver to look for snowshoer

North Shore Rescue, Canadian Avalanche Rescue Dog teams and personnel will be on Mt. Seymour

Market volatility, mortgages loom over upcoming earnings of Canada’s big banks

Central bank interest hikes have padded the banks’ net interest margins

Hearings into SNC-Lavalin affair start today, but not with Wilson-Raybould

She has repeatedly cited solicitor-client privilege to refuse all comment

Most Read