Despite putting its best paddle forward, the Inlet Rowing Club will not be home to a training centre for the province’s next generation of Olympic hopefuls.
The club, which is located at Rocky Point Park in Port Moody submitted a bid last year to house Rowing BC’s NextGen Performance Centre.
The centre would be home to elite athletes targeting Canada’s Olympic rowing team in the next couple of years.
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“Despite our enthusiasm for bringing the NextGen centre to Port Moody, alas it was not to be,” club representatives stated in an email. “That said, we learned a lot from undertaking the process and this will augur well should another opportunity arise for our club.”
While the bid was ultimately unsuccessful, the process did allow staff at the provincial sport organization to visit the club and the waters they practise on.
“Now we’ve been there, we’ve seen it,” said David Calder, executive director of Rowing BC, “and we actually know first-hand the opportunity.”
The club was up against four other bids across the province, and despite a strong vision for how the program would fit in Port Moody, the organization ultimately decided to go with a “plug and play” site on Vancouver Island, put forward by the City of Langford. The 25 acre waterfront property will house athletes following the Canada Summer Games later this year.
Langford has a resume of high-performance sport facilities including Westhills Stadium and the West Shore Parks and Recreation area.
Part of Inlet Rowing Club’s bid included a partnership with Innovative Fitness Port Moody, just steps from the clubhouse on Brewers Row.
“It was very compelling to be part of that community. There were a lot of really exciting pieces and the vision of what it would look like to be an athlete in that space made a lot of really good sense,” said Calder. “The unfortunate thing was that the bid was up against a municipality that had a 25 acre property on the waterfront.”
Calder said the selection process allowed Rowing BC representatives to visit the five bid communities across the province, all with their own special characteristics. In Port Moody, one of those characteristics is the beautiful, seemingly endless water athletes train on.
Calder said Inlet’s willingness to host training opportunities means provincial athletes may still use the club, even if the NextGen Performance Centre isn’t housed there.
“Although we didn’t select Port Moody, we’re really excited about the opportunity to do provincial long distance training out of Port Moody,” he said.
He said the provincial sport organization isn’t large, so it can’t afford to have multiple training centres. But they can work with those communities to boost the profile of the sport.
“I am really impressed with the leadership at the club,” said Calder. “I’m really impressed with how their current operations exist and I’m really excited to be able to work with them moving forward.”
Related: Port Moody rowing club charts course for future Olympians