WELLAND, ON, June 15, 2012 /CNW/ - TO2015, the Toronto 2015 Pan/Parapan American Games Organizing Committee, the Government of Canada, the Government of Ontario and the City of Welland joined together today to make their official venue announcement and reveal the vision for the Welland International Flatwater Centre (WIFC).
National team canoe/kayak members, Alanna Bray-Lougheed and Paul Bryant, also participated in the landmark announcement.
"Welland International Flatwater Centre is world-renowned for its competitive water sport facilities and significant recreational programs," said Ian Troop, TO2015 Chief Executive Officer. "This venue embodies our philosophy of making Toronto 2015 the 'People's Games' bringing sport and community together. The investments we're making today will create a rich public legacy for generations to come."
As the premier calm water surface in the heart of the Niagara peninsula, the WIFC will be hosting many international calibre competitions leading up to Toronto 2015, including the ICF Junior and U23 Canoe Sprint World Championships in 2013.
"The Harper Government is pleased to announce that the Welland International Flatwater Centre will be the official canoe and kayak venue for the 2015 Pan American Games," said the Honourable Bal Gosal, Minister of State (Sport). "Our Government's significant investment of up to $500 million in the 2015 Pan and Parapan American Games for sport infrastructure, legacy, and essential federal services will not only result in economic prosperity for the Greater Toronto Area, but will also leave a lasting sport legacy here in Canada for years to come. As part of our commitment to the Games, we are pleased to provide funding of up to $6.7 million to cover 56 per cent of capital costs for upgrades and improvements to the Welland International Flatwater Centre."
In preparation for the Toronto 2015 Games, the WIFC will receive capital investment from the Government of Canada and the City of Welland for upgrades and improvements. These will include:
- Canal expansion - The canal will be widened to accommodate additional lane space to meet international competition standards
- Two new buildings
- A new timing tower which will keep time and score and provide technical delegates, officials and judges and anti-doping officials with appropriate space
- Athletes centre with change and washrooms, athlete medical area and storage for equipment
- Upgrades to the existing site and field of play
The improvements and upgrades will be overseen by TO2015 with Rounthwaite, Dick and Hadley Architects, awarded the contract in October 2011 through a fair, open, transparent and competitive public tendering process led by the City of Welland. Construction will start in fall 2012.
Ontario's contribution will support short-term facility improvements, equipment and the overall operations for the 2015 Games, including the kayak and canoe events held at the WIFC.
"The Welland International Flatwater Centre is not only a great competition venue — it's also a hub for sport, recreation and healthy living that truly embodies the McGuinty Government's vision for the Pan/Parapan Am Games," said Charles Sousa, Ontario's Minister responsible for the 2015 Pan/Parapan Am Games. "The upgrades, triggered by the 2015 Games, will enhance the Centre's international reputation and bring long-lasting economic and community benefits to the Niagara Region and all of Ontario."
"The major investment we are making in Welland, in the Recreational Waterway and the WIFC, is an investment in our future, in the local and national future of multiple flatwater sports and our future Pan American athletes and future Olympians, from across Canada and perhaps right here from our own backyard," said Barry Sharpe, Mayor of Welland. "The investment takes the WIFC to a new level as an international venue and national asset."
"Participating in a home Games is a tremendous motivator for our Ontario athletes, and will help us raise awareness of the sport of Sprint Canoe Kayak racing in Ontario," said Joanne Bryant, President, Sprint, Canoe Kayak Ontario. "The investment being made here at the Welland International Flatwater Centre will not only create an incredible stage on which our athletes can shine, but also cement our ability to inspire athletes and host international competitions for decades to come."
About the Toronto 2015 Pan/Parapan American Games
The Pan American Games are one of the world's largest international multi-sport events, held every four years for athletes of the 41 member nations of the Pan American Sports Organization (PASO). The Games comprise all Olympic Summer Games sports, as well as traditional Pan American sports. The Toronto 2015 Pan/Parapan American Games will draw 10,000 athletes and officials and feature 48 sports in municipalities across the Greater Golden Horseshoe area. The Toronto 2015 Pan American Games will take place July 10-26 and the Parapan American Games August 7-14. For more information about the Games, please visit toronto2015.org
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