From the slanted window of his office at the Pacific Institute for Sports Excellence, Robert Bettauer sees Canada’s top rugby players execute the drills that helped them to second place at the 2014 Women’s Rugby World Cup.
The rugby players could soon be joined by another group of high performance athletes, as the fourth-year CEO hopes the soon-to-be-built world class running track attracts Athletics Canada to PISE.
“The track is only the latest project, we’re building incrementally where we can as we become better funded,” Bettauer said.
During his time here, Bettauer, 58, has morphed from tennis analyst on Sportsnet to the face for PISE, at least in Saanich.
“When PISE started, there were a lot of adjustments, and it’s taken time to connect PISE to the various levels of sports in Greater Victoria, of which there are a lot. And now we’re bursting at the seams,” Bettauer said.
The non profit entity enjoyed its third straight year on the positive side of a balanced budget, having recorded losses in its first two years of operation. PISE was originally built on the south end of Camosun College’s Interurban Campus in 2008 with $24.5 million of the $27-million cost coming from provincial funding.
Making PISE sustainable has taken years.
The initial CEO lasted three months. The building’s original vision didn’t take shape until former Tennis Canada CEO Bob Moffat spent the next two years as a general manager. Moffat worked with Bettauer at Tennis Canada, where the latter was the director of tennis development.
Now the facility is in good standing, thanks in part to the growth of key tenant partners such as the Canadian Sports Institute Pacific and Camosun College. Camosun’s Centre for Sport & Exercise Education program runs in PISE with 400 students and faculty in four classrooms.
Only $100,000 of PISE’s annual $2.5 million operating budget comes from the province. The rest comes from a combination of lease and rental revenue, program revenue, grant revenue and the Commonwealth Legacy Fund, the Victoria Foundation (for child programming) and sponsorships.
“We walk the talk. When we look to add resources we can say we’re looking to enhance what’s here, not to create,” Bettauer said.
More than half of the programming PISE offers is now external, run at schools and community centres, he added.
“The good news is we’ve filled the building, we’re bursting at the seams. The bad news is we’re bursting at the seams. External community programs are now done out of strategy and out of necessity.”
Forty per cent of PISE’s $1 million track budget has already been raised.
The track will only be four lanes but will meet world athletics standards and will include seating for 500 people.