The Cowichan Sportsplex is one of many private venues being used for the 2018 BC Summer Games. (Citizen file)

Private partners make Summer Games possible

Cowichan 2018 will set record for most private and non-profit venues

The Cowichan 2018 BC Summer Games are still a little over a month away, but they’ve already set a record.

The Cowichan Games will use more private facilities than any previous Summer Games, which demonstrates both what it takes to put on such a massive event and how well the entire community has come together.

“For the most part, the Games go to larger communities, like Abbotsford, Surrey, Penticton or Kelowna, that have a larger population base and significant municipal infrastructure,” Cowichan 2018 vice president Mona Kaiser explained. “In order to put together a package, we had to work with partners like these.”

Seven private facilities (including non-profits) will be used for sports: the Cowichan Sportsplex (athletics and softball), the Cowichan Exhibition (equestrian), the Maple Bay Yacht Club (sailing), Cowichan Golf & Country Club (golf), Brentwood College School (triathlon), Shawnigan Lake School (rugby) and Queen Margaret’s School (three-on-three basketball). The Cowichan Exhibition will also be used for a pair of special events for participants, and other special events will take place at Laketown Ranch (opening ceremony), Blue Grouse Winery, and Saison Market Vineyard.

Cowichan 2018 is a “true regional Games,” Kaiser pointed out, and the inclusion of the many private venues is just another example of that.

“We are using resources of all our neighbours,” Kaiser said. “And in addition, these private partners have offered up their facilities, for free for the most part.”

While it’s not reasonable to expect all the partners to provide their facilities free-of-charge, some have reduced their fees drastically, Kaiser noted, such as the Cowichan Golf & Country Club, which has given Cowichan 2018 “one of the best rates ever offered to a Summer Games.”

“They’ve set the bar for Summer Games at other venues,” Kaiser said.

The private schools that are involved have also stepped up in a big way.

“Not only are they giving us space, they’re letting us use equipment, tents, change rooms,” Kaiser said. “Anything we ask for, they’re giving us.”

That’s not to say that Games organizers are any less grateful for their publicly owned partners.

“The school board has been one of our liaisons, and parks and rec in Duncan, Ladysmith, the CVRD and North Cowichan,” Kaiser said. “They’ve been opening doors for us in order to get this up and running. It’s kind of a neat thing.”

The Cowichan 2018 BC Summer Games will take place on July 19-22 at venues throughout the Cowichan Valley. Admission to all events and competitions will be free for spectators.

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