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Whistler event receives $35,000 from HostingBC

FIS Snowboard World Cup on for December 2005; government opens wallet for sports facilities

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Whistler is one of 12 communities across B.C. that will receive a share of $226,000 from the 2010 LegaciesNow HostingBC program to hold one of 16 events.

Last Thursday HostingBC announced $35,000 to go to the Canadian Snowboard Federation and hosting the FIS Snowboard World Cup in Whistler this December.

Locally, the Squamish Valley Golf and Country Club will receive $50,000 to host the Royal Cup Women’s National Amateur Golf Championships, which take place Aug. 8-12.

This was the second round of grants to be awarded through the HostingBC program, bringing the total to $461,000 and 33 different events that meet the program’s criteria.

"The criteria was to support single sports events that are either senior level national championships or international level events like a World Cup," explained Janis Cookson, the director of sport tourism at HostingBC.

"Our focus would obviously be on Winter Olympic sports and Paralympic sports, but we do support other sports as well. The area we were most interested in is in how the funding leads to further sport development and social community development, as well as the economic impact and legacies for the community."

Some 22 projects were presented in the second round of funding, and the successful applicants were reviewed by a board formed by members of 2010 LegaciesNow and the funding partners, including sponsor corporations, the provincial government and municipal governments.

The program was created to enhance B.C.’s reputation as an event host in the buildup to 2010, bringing athletes, media, and sport tourism to the province. The hope is that these events will continue to come to B.C. after 2010, helping to develop more athletes within the province while bringing tourism to urban and rural communities.

New facilities to be funded

The new round of event funding has followed a series of facility funding announcements from the provincial government’s $50 million Major Regional Sports Facilities Initiative.

On April 18, the provincial government announced $3.9 million in funding to develop an international Paralympic training centre in Kimberley, including a 20,000 square-foot multisport development and competition centre, and upgrades to outdoor facilities like cross-country trails.

The City of Fort St. John will receive $12.5 million to build a new Olympic speed skating training centre and twin hockey rinks – an Olympic-sized rink and an NHL-sized rink.

Nanaimo will receive $8.5 million to fund the new Nanaimo Ice Centre, an 85,000 square foot multiplex facility with two NHL-size ice surfaces, and other multi-purpose rooms.

The City of Prince George will receive $20.5 million towards the creation of a Northern Sport Centre at the University of Northern B.C., which will include a multi-court gymnasium, a field house with an indoor track, outdoor sports field, and a network of cross-country running, cycling and skiing trails. The centre will also contact PacificSport’s northern operations, which provides coaching, training and funding support to athletes. That funding came from the $60 million Major Post-Secondary Sports Training Facilities Initiative, and not the Major Regional Sports Facilities Initiative.

The same funding initiative will see $20 million go towards the creation of an athletic centre and outdoor stadium at Simon Fraser University.

Although all parties have come out in support of the funding, the NDP Party accused the Liberal Party of timing these funding announcements to coincide with the May 17 General Election.

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