Rowing Canada is working towards phase two of its project to make Quamichan Lake its long-term home.
Rowing Canada, which made a commitment in early 2019 to move its operations to North Cowichan, is applying for a $220,000 grant from the Island Coastal Economic Trust’s Capital and Innovation Program to help pay for the establishment of a National Training Centre on Quamichan Lake.
Phase two of the project is estimated to cost approximately $1 million, and Rowing Canada expects to make up the rest of the financing through private donations and other means.
The board at the Cowichan Valley Regional District voted to send a letter of support to ICET for Rowing Canada’s grant application at its meeting on May 25.
Rowing Canada’s project entails four phases of development and construction that is expected to result in an estimated $13 million in capital investment into the local community over the next few years.
When complete, the National Training Centre will be the first purpose-built high performance and para-rowing facility in Canada.
Phase two of the project will see new shoreline infrastructure and amenities at Rowing Canada’s site at the Duncan Community Lodge and at the adjoining Moose Road municipal lake access point.
This includes environmentally sustainable and fully accessible pathways and ramps, new docks for launching rowing shells as well as a public access dock for launching canoes, kayaks, and personal watercraft.
Improved roadway access, turnaround, handicap parking and a staging area where watercraft can be readied for launch will also be part of phase two, and a sheltered floating dock will be installed for motorized launches needed for coaching, safety and officiating of selection trials and small regattas.
In a letter to the CVRD, Rowing Canada said the plan is to create a safe, welcoming, supportive, and inspiring place for high-performance athletes, residents, and visitors; including, youth, seniors, people with disabilities and members of the indigenous community.
“There will be a small influx of up to 40 professional staff and up to 70 high-performance athletes who will live in the region on a permanent or semi-permanent basis to train with and to support the national rowing team, and a frequent but shorter-term influx of 200 to 300 rowing tourists who will come for talent identification and selection races, rowing training camps, and coaching development,” the letter said.
“Rowing Canada’s purpose is to inspire Canadians through the sport of rowing, to promote physical and mental well being, to foster safe, diverse, and vibrant communities across Canada and to create opportunities and pathways for Canadians to be the best they can be. To achieve this, we must create a world-class daily training environment for all our athletes. To this end, our top priority is to establish a new National Training Centre.”
Following a Canada-wide selection process, Quamichan Lake was selected as the ideal location for the new centre.
Kate Marsh, a director for North Cowichan on the CVRD’s board, said she’s excited for the region to have the kind of world-class presence that Rowing Canada provides.
“I’m gratified that ICET will have a look at this grant application, and I will support [sending ICET a letter of support for it],” she said.