Adam Kreek (centre, front) won gold in the men’s eight Shunyi Olympic Rowing-Canoeing Park during the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. The Saanich resident says he is disappointed by the decision Rowing Canada Aviron to forego Saanich in awarding the body’s national training centre to North Cowichan. Courtesy of Adam Kreek.

Adam Kreek (centre, front) won gold in the men’s eight Shunyi Olympic Rowing-Canoeing Park during the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. The Saanich resident says he is disappointed by the decision Rowing Canada Aviron to forego Saanich in awarding the body’s national training centre to North Cowichan. Courtesy of Adam Kreek.

Olympic Gold medalist rower disppointed Saanich won’t host national training centre

Adam Kreek said also he respects decision by Rowing Canada Aviron

A Canadian Olympic Gold medalist, who trained at Elk/Beaver Lake and lives in Saanich, expressed disappointment with the news that the community won’t be the future training for current and future Olympic athletes.

“I’m very disappointed to see the national team leave … Saanich and the Capital Regional District,” said Adam Kreek, who won Olympic Gold in 2008 as part of Canada’s men’s eights, the most prestigious rowing category. “Rowing Canada has a strong Olympic legacy in the community.”

RELATED: North Cowichan will host new permanent rowing centre starting October 2020

At the same time, he said that he supports and respects the process of the decision making committee, adding that this move must have been a very difficult choice.

Rowing Canada Aviron (RCA) announced Wednesday that North Cowichan will host its future national training centre, with national team athletes training at Quamichan Lake. Rowing Canada plans to establish a permanent national training centre in the area by October 2020. Saanich’s bid from the Victoria City Rowing Club (VCRC) was one of five communities on the shortlist.

“None of the sites were hands-down winners,” he said. “I think it was a difficult choice.” In the end, the winning bid offered room to grow, a larger lake, and what Kreek calls “fervent” community support.

“The biggest factor that Elk/Beaver Lake could not meet was priority access,” said Jennifer Walinga, who chaired Rowing Canada’s selection committee. “It’s a really busy lake,” she said. In other words, Saanich could not offer the kind of access necessary to avoid competing against other users, a point that Kreek acknowledged.

RELATED: Adam Kreek aims for Guinness record on Gorge Waterway

“Quamichan Lake is a bigger lake,” he said. “Speedboats won’t wake down rowers and interrupt training.”

But Kreek also pointed out several drawbacks of the North Cowichan. It will require new training and support facilities and resources currently available through the Pacific Institute for Sports Excellence, which Kreek calls an “amazing resource.”

This said, Kreek believes that rowing will retain a presence in the region. “We have a very strong legacy of this sport that will survive with the [University of Victoria Vikes] rowing program, VCRC juniors, and masters program,” he said. Walinga also said junior national teams will retain a presence in the region.

Kreek said he would like to see some sort of memorial to commemorate the Olympic medals that were earned through the training on Elk/Beaver Lake to “respect the athletes that spent countless hours on the water and inspire future generations of athletes to reach for their athletic potential.”


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

wolfgang.depner@saanichnews.com

Just Posted

UVic Department of Anthropology chair and professor, April Nowell, at home with a copy of her new book, Growing Up In the Ice Age. (Courtesy of April Nowell)
New book by University of Victoria professor explores lives of Ice Age children

April Nowell spent two decades researching archaeological evidence of children, teens

Saanich Neighbourhood Place is hoping to open the doors to its new centre in July, pending final council approval. (Black Press Media file photo)
Saanich childcare agency awaits final approval on much-needed new facility

Saanich Neighbourhood Place keen to open new centre this summer, expand options for community

Proposed design for the Topaz Park bike and skate park elements. (Courtesy City of Victoria)
Victoria requesting feedback on Topaz Park redesign

Public input now being taken for proposed skate, bike park ideas

Victoria police are searching for high-risk missing woman Chloe Morrison who was last seen in Victoria June 13. (Courtesy of VicPD)
MISSING: Chloe Morrison, last seen in Victoria

Morrison, 25, was last seen shortly after 2 p.m. June 13

Processed sewage is still being deposited at the Hartland landfill rather than sent as biosolids to a Richmond cement plant. (Black Press Media file photo)
Biosolids at Hartland still being placed on landfill in Saanich

Richmond cement plant up and running, but CRD end product not suitable for purpose

People watch a car burn during a riot following game 7 of the NHL Stanley Cup final in downtown Vancouver, B.C., in this June 15, 2011 photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Geoff Howe
10 years ago: Where were you during the 2011 Vancouver Stanley Cup Riots?

Smashed-in storefronts, looting, garbage can fires and overturned cars some of the damage remembered today

Vancouver courthouse. (Photo: Tom Zytaruk)
Man loses bid to appeal conviction for 1999 rape at Abbotsford music festival

James Redden, 53, formerly of Nanaimo, was found guilty in 2019 following six-day trial

A health-care worker holds up a sign signalling she needs more COVID-19 vaccines at the ‘hockey hub’ mass vaccination facility at the CAA Centre during the COVID-19 pandemic in Brampton, Ont., on Friday, June 4, 2021. This NHL-sized hockey rink is one of CanadaÕs largest vaccination centres. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
‘Vaxxed to the max’: Feds launch Ask an Expert campaign to encourage COVID shots

Survey shows that confidence in vaccines has risen this spring

Port Alberni court house (Alberni Valley News)
Inquest set into 2016 death of B.C. teen after a day spent in police custody

18-year-old Jocelyn George died of heart failure in hospital after spending time in jail cell

Children’s shoes and flowers are shown after being placed outside the Ontario legislature in Toronto on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Ontario commits $10 million to investigate burial sites at residential schools

Truth and Reconciliation Commission identified 12 locations of unmarked burial sites in Ontario

Singer-songwriter Jann Arden is pictured with a draft horse. (Canadian Horse Defence Coalition)
Jann Arden backs petition to stop ‘appalling’ live horse export, slaughter

June 14 is the International Day to End Live Export of Animals

Two hundred and fifteen lights are placed on the lawn outside the Residential School in Kamloops, B.C., Saturday, June, 13, 2021. The remains of 215 children were discovered buried near the former Kamloops Indian Residential School earlier this month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Days after Kamloops remains discovery, Tk’emlups families gather to unite, move ahead

‘We have to work together because this is going to be setting a precedent for the rest of the country’

In this Saturday, May 29, 2021, file photo, people crowd the Santa Monica Pier in Santa Monica, Calif. California, the first state in America to put in place a coronavirus lockdown, is now turning a page on the pandemic. Most of California’s coronavirus restrictions will disappear Tuesday, June 15, 2021. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes, File)
With COVID tamed, it’s a ‘grand reopening’ in California

No more state rules on social distancing, no more limits on capacity, no more mandatory masks

Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price (31) is scored on by Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Alec Martinez, not pictured, during the second period in Game 1 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup semifinal playoff series Monday, June 14, 2021, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Habs fall 4-1 to Vegas Golden Knights in Game 1 of NHL semifinal series

Match was Montreal’s first game outside of Canada in 2021

Most Read