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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

QUIZ: How much do you know about British Columbia?

On this B.C. Day long weekend, put your knowledge of our province to the test

A true community garden takes root in Tsa’xana

Tsa’xana First Nation residents typically have to grocery shop in Campbell River, 90 km away

Vancouver Island community organizes luncheon for seniors to beat COVID-19 blues

Sayward Community Recreation Association and Mowi teamed up to deliver lunch boxes to senior citizens in Sayward

Road rage incident in downtown Campbell River results in charges

Action movie scene caught on video, which helped identify driver

North Island Hospital Campbell River’s campus has a new food forest

And the hospital staff is encouraging the community to come ‘nibble’ on the produce

VIDEO: Otter pups learn to swim at B.C. wildlife rescue facility

Watch Critter Care’s Nathan Wagstaffe help seven young otters go for their first dip

Rollout of COVID-19 Alert app faces criticism over accessibility

App requires users to have Apple or Android phones made in the last five years, and a relatively new operating system

Alleged impaired driver sparks small wildfire near Lytton after crash: B.C. RCMP

Good Samaritans prevented the blaze from getting out of control

B.C. First Nation adopts ‘digital twinning’ software to better manage territory

Software allows users to visualize what a mountain might look like if the trees on its slopes were logged

Woman arrested near Nanaimo beach after alleged road rage incidents

37-year-old woman facing charges including assault, assaulting a police officer, impaired driving

All inquiry recommendations implemented after fatal Port Hardy RCMP shooting: Ministry

The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. cleared the RCMP officers involved of wrongdoing

Leave your deets when dining: Restaurants taking personal info to trace COVID-19

Health officials say indoor dining presents a higher risk

Most Read