Chris Jaycox is the new executive director of the Cowichan Sportsplex, replacing Drew Cooper who retired at the end of May.
Jaycox was raised in the Shawnigan Lake area and spent seven years with CHEK News as a video journalist and editor before accepting the position at the Cowichan Sportsplex, a popular regional outdoor sports, fitness and recreation park covering more than 26 acres in the Valley.
He is also a former athlete who played with the Cowichan Valley Capitals Hockey Club and was a fully sponsored skier who produced Slopestyle TV, a show geared toward skiers and snowboarders that was seen across Canada.
Jaycox joins the team at the Sportsplex at an exciting time as the facility has recently learned that it will receive a $75,000 grant from the Co-op Community Spaces Program that will help pay for the new Sportsplex field house, which is now estimated at $1.58 million.
Construction of the field house, which will include team dressing rooms, meeting space and public washrooms, is expected to begin this fall.
The Canada Recreation Infrastructure Fund granted approximately $1 million towards the project, while local governments and other agencies have committed to funding the rest.
“The funding from Co-op can help us pay some of the non-fixed costs of the field house, including chairs and furniture, and will lower the financial commitments from local governments,” Jaycox said.
Jaycox said he sees the reluctance of a number of city councillors in Duncan to help pay for the field house, including Coun. Tom Duncan who has pointed out that less than 10 per cent of the people in Duncan actually use the Sportsplex, as an opportunity for the team at the facility to reach out to the people in the city, show them what is offered, and increase the numbers who use it.
The city had committed to granting $25,000 towards the field house, but decided against contributing another $47,500 towards the construction of the facility in May.
“It’s a great challenge to target people in the Duncan area to use our facilities more, but I like challenges,” Jaycox said.
“I want to bring some fresh energy here and that’s one of the reasons the board hired me. I want to see the Sportsplex used more by small user groups, as well as high-performance athletes, and I want to expand on the programs already here and begin new ones.”
Jaycox said more tournaments are being planned, new basketball hoops have been installed and he’s working towards adding volleyball to the sports offerings at the Sportsplex.
Jaycox said now that the COVID-19 pandemic appears to be in its last stages as more people are vaccinated, he wants the public to know that the Sportsplex is open for business again.
He said all outdoor facilities are considered COVID safe for people that are still cautious, and masks are still being recommended for indoors.
“I have an open-door policy and welcome new ideas on how we can do things better,” Jaycox said.
“People can call me, email me or just drop by the office and talk to me. I’m encouraging people to come and check out the facility.”