Congratulations to the Caledonia Nordic Ski Club for creating an amazing legacy piece for Prince George after the 2015 Canada Winter Games.
Cross-country skiers and biathletes will enjoy a world-class facility this season, thanks to the efforts of the club's 1,800 members, combined with the generosity of local businesses and some timely government funding.
With 510 days to go before the start of the Winter Games, most of the work on a $1.7-million facelift to the Otway Nordic Centre has been done.
The centrepiece is a new 30-lane shooting range that has been built to International Biathlon Union standards, along with 10 kilometres of new trails built to racing standards. The club expects the International Ski Federation to sanction the trails.
As a result, Otway could host national biathlon events, such as a Winter Olympic qualifying event, and even international events like the world youth biathlon championships. Adding electronic target modification would allow Prince George to host a World Cup biathlon event.
Tim Roots calls it one of the best biathlon facilities in Canada.
Besides the opportunity for the region to develop the next generation of national biathletes, Prince George could host training and coaching session for the Canadian national team, working with the Northern Sport Centre at UNBC for cross-training and sports medicine. The national and international competitions in Prince George would follow from there.
The work at Otway is a testament to the power of collaboration. Government funding and grants amounted to $940,000, leaving the club more than $700,000 short of the planned improvement. The businesses that stepped up to help with supplies, equipment and labour included IDL Projects, All-West Glass, Winton Global Homes, Conifex Lumber, West Fraser Mills, Stella Jones, Double D Logging, Finning Tractor, Brandt Tractor, Sims Contracting, Access Engineering, Geonorth Engineering, L&M Engineering, Sinclar Group and Northern Steel.
The $400,000 cost to build a 1,060-square-foot timing/storage/office building for the cross-country stadium and a 650-square-foot biathlon technical building, both two-story structures, were mostly paid for by businesses and residents.
The nordic centre will see its first real biathlon action during the B.C. Winter Games trials on Dec. 29, followed by the Western Canadian biathlon championships on Feb. 1 and 2.
It will no doubt be the first of many future elite competitions Otway and Prince George will host.
Otway is now a monument to the power of community spirit, as well as a location that will benefit Prince George and the region for decades to come.