Rowing Canada Aviron (RCA) announces that North Cowichan, British Columbia will be the future home of the RCA National Training Centre following an extensive review and Request for Proposal (RFP) process.
“We are delighted to have found such a willing and supportive partner in North Cowichan,” said RCA Chief Executive Officer, Terry Dillon. “From our initial conversations, it was clear that they shared our vision for creating a home for our National Team programs. We look forward to working together in the coming months and years.”
RCA would like to acknowledge the outstanding efforts of all bid communities across the country for their engagement and collaboration throughout the bid process and helping RCA identify the optimal location for our National teams post-Tokyo 2020.
“It was always our desire to run an open process that would allow communities across Canada to show their best,” said Dillon. “We certainly saw compelling bids of the highest quality and we would like to offer our genuine thanks to all. Our hope is that the collaboration we have seen has helped reenergize local leadership around the significance of rowing in their communities.”
RCA launched an RFP process for the 2020 National Training Centre (NTC) in May 2018. The RFP process allowed for any community in Canada to submit an Expression of Interest and proposal. A total of ten Expressions of Interest were submitted to the NTC Project Committee with five formal proposals presented in September 2018. The NTC Project Committee reviewed all submissions, engaged in comprehensive discussions with site teams, conducted site visits, attended presentations and submitted a recommendation on final selection of the primary site for RCA’s National Training Centre to the RCA Board of Directors.
“On behalf of the RCA Board of Directors, I would like to thank the NTC Committee members for their time and dedication to such a comprehensive and collaborative process,” said RCA President, Carol Purcer. “We also thank all the bid communities for their extensive commitment and efforts in ensuring the continued success of our sport.”
The RCA Board of Directors approved the recommendation of the NTC Project Committee at the end of 2018, following additional feasibility testing and focus group sessions with key stakeholders.
“The NTC committee has engaged in an incredibly iterative and comprehensive process to ensure that we honour the RCA values of innovation, excellence, and partnership, and the RCA purpose of growing through rowing, while achieving our goal of identifying an enduring home base for our national teams,” said NTC Committee Chair, Jennifer Walinga. “We relied on the scorecard that our community co-created and are confident that the final site selection has the greatest potential to satisfy all of the criteria identified. This process has had the added benefit of connecting RCA with multiple site teams across Canada for a range of opportunities beyond the NTC. Clearly there is a massive interest in hosting our national team across Canada and a need to expand our outreach.”
The Municipality of North Cowichan was selected as the future home for Canada’s National Rowing teams based on the following criteria: strongest technical scorecard, high level of community support, access to suitable bodies of water, dedicated and tailored boathouse facility and dryland facilities in close proximity.
RCA will build on our long-standing relationship with North Cowichan as the primary NTC site. Additionally, RCA National Teams will continue to benefit from the ongoing partnership with Shawnigan Lake School.
“National team athletes are driven by medals and we believe that the bodies of water, facilities and support offered by North Cowichan and Shawnigan Lake make it the best choice for the NTC going forward”, said Athlete Director and NTC Committee member, Peter McClelland.
North Cowichan is currently investing in water quality of Quamichan Lake by engaging a local biologist and researchers from the BC Institute of Technology to sample water in the Lake and develop recommendations for Council’s consideration. The Municipality is committed to supporting the health of Quamichan Lake and the people using it.
“North Cowichan is extremely pleased to be the new home for Rowing Canada Aviron,” said Mayor, Al Siebring. “We are a region of sport, recreation, and love of the outdoors. With its focus on health, sport, and excellence, Rowing Canada is exactly the partner that we want in our community. We know it will be a significant undertaking for Rowing Canada to build a new home, and our community will be with you on that journey.”
RCA will work with the Municipality of North Cowichan to assist National team athletes and coaches in the transition period, including upcoming opportunities to learn more about the region and the facilities that will support the needs of the team.
National team athletes will continue to train at Quamichan Lake periodically over the next two years in the lead up to Tokyo 2020. “Quamichan Lake and the Cowichan Valley will play a key role as a strategic camp location on the ‘Road to Tokyo’ in advance of the national team program’s full relocation and transition following the conclusion of the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games,” said RCA High Performance Director, Iain Brambell. “We look forward to building on our relationship with North Cowichan to create the optimal training environment for our National Team athletes.”