Athletes preparing for the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games will have continued training support, thanks to new operational funding for one of B.C.’s premier sport facilities.
“We’re pleased to provide provincial support to this excellent training facility that will encourage national calibre and next-generation athletes,” said Lisa Beare, Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture. “Together with the residents of Saanich and all British Columbians, we look forward to cheering you on as you represent B.C. on the world stage.”
Following the 1994 Commonwealth Games hosted in Victoria, the Government of Canada, Province of B.C. and District of Saanich established the Saanich Commonwealth Place Operating Agreement as a legacy of the games. The agreement includes a 25-year guarantee of high-performance athletes’ access to Saanich Commonwealth Place, a national training centre for aquatic sports located in Greater Victoria. This funding will cover a two-year funding shortfall between now and the end of the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Summer Games cycle in August 2020, so that athletes and coaches can continue training without disruption.
"We're proud of our high-performance sport facilities in Saanich and our rich history of supporting local athletes, and we understand the community benefits that also accrue in providing these resources," said Fred Haynes, mayor of Saanich. "We're delighted and grateful to receive this investment from the Province toward the operations of the pool at Commonwealth to continue high-performance training within our community."
The Province’s $100,000 investment will support the Commonwealth Pool Operating Trust Fund, which reduces the costs associated with high-performance aquatics training at the pool — including swimming, triathlon, diving, synchronized swimming and water polo. This investment will also support more than 600 club-based athletes who use the facility’s pool and other athletic resources.
“Saanich Commonwealth Pool is a critical training ground in the pursuit of the international podium for Canada’s Olympic and Paralympic athletes connected to the aquatic sports,” said Anne Merklinger, chief executive officer, Own the Podium. “This much-needed investment by the B.C. government reinforces the important role sport plays on Canada’s West Coast and ensures the lane to Tokyo 2020 for these athletes will continue to flow through Victoria.”
The Province supports athletes as they move from recreational sport participation to elite levels of competition. B.C.'s high-performance pathway is a collaborative system that provides support as athletes progress from representing their school or region through to representing British Columbia or Canada.
- The 2020 Summer Olympics and Paralympics will take place July 24 to Sept. 6 in Tokyo.
- The Province invests more than $50 million annually in sport, including:
- $1.63 million to Canadian Sport Institute Pacific to ensure B.C.’s high-performance athletes, coaches and sport science/medicine practitioners have the resources they need to reach their full potential and win medals for Canada;
- $1.655 million to the Enhanced Excellence Program to support provincial and disability sport organizations to move more B.C. athletes to national teams and improved performances at national championships; and
- Over $10 million to provincial, disability, and multi-sport organizations to support youth development.
- Saanich Commonwealth Place also serves as a community recreation centre for residents, offering a wide variety of sports facilities, recreation classes, health and rehabilitation services, along with the Bruce Hutchison Branch of the Greater Victoria Public Library.