Monday, June 30, 2008

The Westshore Velodrome

Over in the Westshore they are talking about getting rid of one of the legacies of the 1994 Commonwealth Games, the Juan de Fuca Velodrome. The Velodrome is part of the Juan de Fuca recreation complex that is operated jointly by Langford, Colwood, Metchosin, Highlands and View Royal.

The Victoria region has become a more and more active region over the last generation. We see more outdoor activities, more sports, a lot more high level athletes and generally more people in motion. This region has the highest number of cyclist commuters of any city in Canada. We are also blessed with a climate that allows cycling for most of the year. And we have one of the few velodromes in Canada, in fact there are only eight in total in all of Canada.

As a comparison, Australia has 16, Belgium has 14, New Zealand has 11.

The JdF site is the only outdoor velodrome in BC.

What we need is not to get rid of this velodrome, but to build several more in the area. I would put one in at UVic and Camosun as well. With three facilities in the region, you will create local clubs of cyclists that will have a local series of races to compete with each other. Do this and Victoria will become more of a cycling city and we will have more Olympic athletes. We will have three or more times as many youth and adults involved with cycling as a sport.

Taking down the velodrome is short sighted and only makes sense to people when they think in small balkanized chunks and not about the city as a whole.

We do need some more stadiums in this city. It makes sense to build a place for 2000 to 5000 people to watch a sporting event outdoors. Ideally we should see a proper upgrade of Centennial stadium at UVic, the construction of another one at Camosun and one in the Westshore. I would also upgrade Royal Athletic Park.

Though there is one problem I have glossed over with the stadium idea, this region may have seen an increase in public participation in sports and active living, what we have not seen is any sort of public attendance at sporting events. We do hold a lot of major sporting meets, UVic has the best basketball in Canada, the Grizzlies are a showcase of up and coming hockey players - but the attendance is not good when you look at the over 300 000 people living in the region.
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