Canada Games funding unveiled for capital venues
The biggest athletic event in the country is coming to P.E.I. in just over a year, and there’s no better proof of the work being done to prepare than a drive by UPEI.
There are small mountains of dirt on the campus as an earthen bowl is constructed to accommodate a large crowd of spectators to the many sporting events that will be highlighted during the Canada Summer Games when the event comes to P.E.I. in 2009.
Representatives from the Canada Games host society, the City of Charlottetown, the province and the federal government joined UPEI president Wade MacLauchlan and a number of young athletes to thank each partner for their financial contribution to this major event on P.E.I.
“P.E.I. is getting very excited,” said Premier Robert Ghiz during a news conference at UPEI Saturday.
“It is going to be an Island-wide event and it’s going to be a great event for all Islanders — but it’s going to be especially wonderful for our athletes.”
In total, the city, the provincial and federal governments and the university are investing over $7.6 million in funding for Canada Games facilities in the City of Charlottetown.
Saturday’s funding announcement outlined details of the new $6.8-million state-of-the-art athletic complex currently under construction on the UPEI campus.
The complex will host close to 50 track and field events during the second week of the Games. The aquatic complex at the CARI Centre will also receive nearly $300,000 in upgrades, allowing it to host numerous swimming and diving competitions.
But UPEI isn’t the only area in Charlottetown hosting Canada Games events.
Memorial Field and the tennis courts at Victoria Park will undergo major renovations totalling almost $530,000, allowing them to also be used for the event.
Charlottetown Mayor Clifford Lee expressed praise for the federal and provincial dollars being pooled with university and municipal funding for the many events that will take place in the provincial capital.
“With this announcement, we have been given the opportunity to further demonstrate our strength as a major event-hosting venue and more specifically, you have given us the green light to be host competition in the sports of athletics, diving and swimming, baseball, tennis and volleyball,” Lee said.
Peter MacKay, the federal minister responsible for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) was scheduled to come to P.E.I. for the joint funding announcement, but couldn’t make it due to airplane difficulties.
ACOA vice-president Pat Dorsey took his place at the official ceremony, announcing the government of Canada’s commitment, through ACOA, to invest $1.9 million in the four Canada Games infrastructure projects in Charlottetown.
“(The games) will showcase the natural beauty and hospitality of this province and attract visitors to P.E.I. that will only benefit our economy,” Dorsey said.
“Today’s investment builds on the government of Canada’s commitment to promoting sport and physical activity among Canadians of all ages and abilities.”
All told there are 32 proposed venues across the province for the 2009 Canada Games. It is the first time the games have ever been hosted by an entire province.
Normally, individual municipalities play host to the major sporting event.
It is anticipated that over 4,400 athletes, coaches and managers will attend.
P.E.I. ATHLETIC COMPLEX:
The athletic complex is under construction on the UPEI campus. The state-of-the-art facility will host 25 track and field events for men and 24 for women during the second week of the games. The complex will feature a synthetic 400-metre, eight-lane oval track, a water jump for steeplechase, a facility for long and triple jumps, pole vault, discus and hammer throw, javelin throw, shot put, warm-up track, storage, washrooms, spectator seating and viewing as well as site and storm drainage and fencing. The total cost of this project is $6,793,322, which will be funded through federal, provincial and municipal contributions.
CARI CENTRE: SWIMMING AND DIVING INFRASTRUCTURE
Charlottetown will play a lead role in 2009 when Prince Edward Island hosts the Canada Summer Games. It is a major shareholder in the CARI Centre which is owned by a not-for-profit corporation — Capital Area Recreation Inc. This $299,400 project will upgrade the technical requirements for both the swimming and diving facilities at the CARI centre. The swimming upgrades include the installation of pushbutton Daktronics, touch pads, lane dividers and covers, and darkened windows to reduce light reflection. The diving aspects of the project include a three-metre diving board, pool lighting, and surface agitation system including electrical components.
VICTORIA PARK TENNIS COURTS:
The Victoria Park tennis courts are located in the southern section of the 40-acre parkland. The current venue consists of a total of six lighted courts, a tennis clubhouse, parking as well as a nearby canteen service owned and operated by a local service club.
The site has been chosen by the 2009 Games for the tennis competition. The Games requirement includes a total of eight courts in one venue. Rather than try to create a new venue with eight new courts and all the amenities, it was decided to add two additional courts. In keeping with a specific bylaw pertaining to Victoria Park, the council held a public consultation, and as a result, have support to proceed with two courts in a specified area. This venue upgrade will not only enable the city to host the Games but will also enable the tennis community to attract other future national competitions which also require an eight court venue.
The total project cost is $229,000.
MEMORIAL FIELD UPGRADES:
Memorial Baseball Field, located in Victoria Park in the heart of Charlottetown, is a premier venue for baseball play in the city. This site has been chosen as a primary venue for hosting Games baseball in 2009.
The facility presently does not meet Games standards in either the dimensions or type of playing surface. A substantial upgrade is required in order to meet Games specifications.
The work includes stripping the topsoil from the infield and replacing the infield material with natural sod material to create a grass infield.
The infield will have a drainage system as well as irrigation.
The overall repositioning and expansion of the field will be moved in a northerly direction so as to avoid tree removal in the adjacent woods.
Lights will be relocated and repositioned. New amenities will include bleachers, a bullpen; fencing and a press box.
The complete scope of work has been endorsed by Games officials to ensure that medal games can be played on these fields.
In addition, the city has already committed to hosting the 2008 National Junior Baseball Championships in August. This event will act as a pre-event trial of the venue for 2009 Games.
The total project cost has been approved for $299,814.
Details announced for Canada Games venues
About 90 per cent of the money, $6.8 million, will go to the new track and field venue currently under construction at UPEI. It will have an eight-lane track with a synthetic surface, permanent seating for 1,400 and additional seating for up to 5,000.
Nearly $300,000 will go to upgrades at the CARI pool, including new touch pads, lane dividers, and darker windows.
More than $500,000 will go to renovations for the tennis courts and a ball field at Victoria Park.
The Games next August are expected to attract 4,400 athletes.