Dignitaries, Olympians and Paralympians braved the wet weather today to attend the official opening of PISE’s new track. The finished project adds a fully accessible 4-lane, 400 metre training track, spectator seating and a unique incline training area to the PISE facilities. Over $1.2M was raised with major contributions from the Government of British Columbia, Government of Canada, Athletics Canada, and PacificSport Victoria, plus donations from a wide variety of community members. Today’s event acknowledged the many supporters and partners of the project and included a ceremonial race with kids from Northridge school to officially open the track.
Western Economic Diversification Canada provided over $154,000 in Canada 150 Community Infrastructure Program funding towards enhancing the outdoor venue around the track, which includes railings, seating, and landscaping.
“We are proud to support the Pacific Institute for Sport Excellence in building new additions to their high performance sports facility,” said the Honourable Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities, on behalf of the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science, and Economic Development, and Minister responsible for Western Economic Diversification Canada. “These improvements will ensure that the next generation of Canadian Olympic and Paralympic track athletes begin their careers at a state-of-the-art training facility.”
The Government of BC provided $250,000 towards the project, the largest contribution towards the Track Project, and celebrated the opening with the Honourable Michelle Stilwell, Minister of Social Development and Social Innovation and six-time Paralympic Gold Medalist.
“This project is close to my heart as an advocate for healthy living and accessibility,” said Minister Stilwell, who brought back two gold medals from the Rio Paralympics. “Our government supports BC athletes, and this accessible facility will help British Columbians of all abilities participate and excel in sports. This amazing centre will help make dreams come true.”
PISE is working on enhancements to the facility around accessibility, with the goal of becoming a designated National Paralympic Training Centre. The track provides another major opportunity for Para-athletes and adapted athletes to train for sprint, and various distance sports on an accessible surface. Accessibility and inclusion for community members is an equally important element of this facility development, and is in line with the Government of Canada’s focus around inclusion.
Athletics Canada is also a major partner in the track which is one of the final elements of Athletics Canada’s Western High Performance Hub.
“The Western High Performance Hub is dedicated to help develop world class athletes to achieve sustainable podium success in international athletics and para-athletics,” said Peter Eriksson, Athletics Canada Chief Technical Officer / Head Coach. Eriksson adds, “With the track at PISE we are now able to provide a one stop shop for high performance athletes, including excellent coaching and support services already in place through our partnership with the Canadian Sport Institute Pacific.”
The new track alleviates the shortage of accessible quality tracks in the Capital Regional District, offering a unique facility that can be used by athletes as well as the community. The project includes the KidSport Victoria KidZone where children can practice fundamental movement skills and enjoy physical literacy enriched games. In addition, the Peninsula Co-op Incline provides a unique area for hill training and conditioning. “We envision a Canada where everyone has the opportunity to be physically active throughout their life in a healthy, enjoyable manner,” states PISE Board Chair, Colin Ewart. “The new track provides a tremendous benefit to our community of Greater Victoria and is accessible to individuals of all ages and abilities, enhancing both health and excellence. We are so grateful to the Government of British Columbia, Government of Canada, Athletics Canada and the many organizations and individuals in the community who supported this project.”
The major supporters of this project include the Government of British Columbia, The Government of Canada, Athletics Canada, PacificSport Victoria, Canadian Sport Institute Pacific, Camosun College, Peninsula Co-op, Corix and KidSport Victoria. In addition, a number of private donors have also contributed. As a non-profit society, funding for the track project was 100% dependent on corporate and community support. For more details on the Track Project, visit piseworld.com/track-project.