“We have 3,000 kids who come through our centre every year. It was kind of a natural fit,” said Gord Campbell, Administrator at Tribune Bay for the last 22 years.
The 8,000-square-foot facility will feature an athlete training centre, dorm-style accommodation and cooking facilities, meeting and video rooms, space for a sport science lab, equipment storage, training facilities and fitness equipment. The hope is that sports teams and other groups will use the facility for training, conferences and retreats.
Campbell will take care of administration for the Vancouver Island Mountain Sport and Education Centre. He has been a director with VIMSS for nearly three years, and has experience in operating a mountain facility: he used to run the old Nordic lodge and cross-country ski operation.
A manager has also been hired, Andrew Scherck, to look after things when the building opens. There will be opportunity to bring in additional staff as need allows.
The other benefit of having Tribune Bay look after operation of the centre is it will allow the Hornby Island-based staff to move from seasonal to full-time jobs. Right now the outdoor education centre runs from April to October. Campbell hopes staff can move straight from Hornby to Mount Washington and pick up seamlessly.
“With our history of school groups we know it’s a perfect opportunity to do educational programming up there,” he said. The needs of mountain-based teams will be taken into account first then the facility will open up to other groups for retreats.
While Tribune Bay is contracted with BC Parks to provide youth-oriented programming, that restriction is non-existent with the Mountain Sports and Education Centre. Campbell hopes to adapt a lot of the programming for adults as well as families.
The Centre will open Thanksgiving weekend with a grand opening tour. Crews worked on the building throughout the winter, and it is nearly at the lock-up stage.
The partnership is symbiotic, said Don Sharpe, Resort Director of Business Services, especially since Tribune Bay works with schools and children, much like the Resort does.
The Centre has also undergone a slight name change, to the Vancouver Island Mountain Sport and Education Centre.
“It was never just about sports,” said Sharpe, who is one of the people who has worked hard to bring the Centre to the mountain.
“The synergy between the Sports Centre and the mountain is going to be great,” Resort President Peter Gibson said.
Especially because of its location across the parking lot from Raven Lodge; even the wood beam construction echoes the architecture of the Nordic lodge. “It’s going to be a great post-Olympic legacy,” Gibson added.
Mount Washington is one of the few mountain resorts in B.C. that can boast such a legacy, and he credits the hard work of the VIMSS board for securing funding and moving the project forward.
“It’s going to be a great addition to the mountain.”