I would like to confirm that investing in the care and maintenance of the Cowichan Sportsplex is indeed good for the Valley. The whole Valley.
The seed funds that were used to build the Sportsplex, came from legacy funds left over from Cowichan’s hosting of the 1991 BC Winter Games. More recently, in 2014 Mission hosted the Winter Games which resulted in $100,000 in legacy funds, as well as generating a $1.6 million economic impact for that region. Communities hosting Summer Games fare even better, and Nanaimo’s legacy from the 2014 Summer Games amounted to more than $120,000 with a $2 million economic impact generated for their town.
Now it’s our turn.
In 2018, the Cowichan Valley will be hosting the BC Summer Games. This will result in not only another legacy fund for future recreation projects, but will generate an estimated economic spin-off — for the entire Valley — of $2 million. The Games run for four days, and in our case will take place throughout the region with 26 sporting events held at 22 different venues stretching from Ladysmith to Mill Bay and out to Lake Cowichan. More than 3,000 young athletes from across the province will arrive to participate in the four-day event, bringing with them their coaches, sports officials, parents, grandparents, siblings. They all need to be housed and fed and entertained while here. I can speak from experience since our son participated at the last summer games held in Abbotsford. Between attending sporting events (which in our case was a single, 15 minute race), we stayed for four days, dined out, mini-golfed with our young daughter, took in an art gallery, visited a museum and shopped.
Not only do hosting Games provide an opportunity to appreciate and applaud the hard work that goes into youth sport — for athletes, their parents and the many volunteer associations that make youth sport happen — but it gives younger kids a moment to dream big. For all those budding athletes, here’s a chance (for free!) to check out synchronized swimmers in Ladysmith, wrestlers in Chemainus, waterski and wakeboard competitors at Lake Cowichan, canoe and kayakers in Duncan, equestrian eventers at the Cowichan Exhibition, junior sailors in Maple Bay, or perhaps the next rugby sevens stars in Shawnigan. It’s an impressive show of young talent which will also include: baseball, basketball, diving, golf, inline hockey, lacrosse, rowing, soccer, softball, swimming, triathlon and volleyball. Not to mention over 44 flagship track and field events held at the Cowichan Sportsplex.
For the Valley, it’s our opportunity to shine. Our chance to show off our location, our culture, our artists, our services. For four days we will host not only those attending, but will be featured in local newspapers and TV coverage in communities around the province, as fans follow their young athletes through stories, photos and results broadcast from the BC Games Society media centre. Talk about free advertising.
We were awarded these Games because we have the existing facilities to host such a significant event. Given that we all share in the downstream benefits, I trust our community will find a way to share in the maintenance of these important community resources.
Mona Kaiser, vice-president
Cowichan 2018 BC Summer Games