Fernie’s Emily Brydon at St. Moritz in 2008. (Contributed by Emily Brydon)

Fernie’s Emily Brydon at St. Moritz in 2008. (Contributed by Emily Brydon)

Launch of PacificSport Centre to serve the Columbia Basin

A new PacificSport Centre has been announced for the Columbia Basin region, joining a collective of provincial-sport delivery organizations passionate about enriching lives and energizing communities through sport and activity, according to a news release.

The launch of the new centre comes through a partnership between PacificSport Columbia Basin and viSport, with support from B.C.’s Ministry of Tourism, Arts, Culture and Sport.

“Sport and active living contribute to the vibrancy of our communities and play a powerful role in helping people lead healthy, productive lives”, says Lana Popham, Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture and Sport. “We are pleased to support this project through viaSport, as it will directly impact the quality of sport activities offered to people in this region by supporting physical literacy initiatives and coach development.”

Specifically, PacificSport Basin will give leadership to the Sport Sector in the region, helping build capacity, deliver programs, and develop partnerships that address structural and systemic barriers to sport participation, as well as ensure all participants and communities have opportunities to learn, grow and develop to their potential through sport.

PacificSport Columbia Basin will also increase access to coach training and deliver tailored coach education programs as well as multisport modules like “Making Ethical Decisions”, which are core training for youth sport coaches through the National Coaching Certification Program.

It will also work closely with local sport organization leaders as a mentor; building capacity, efficiencies, and system alignment to improve the quality of sport across all ages and stages of sport.

“Sport is an incredible vehicle for social change and community development,” says CharleneKrepiakevich, viaSport British Columbia CEO. “It supports happier, healthier people in better connected communities. We are thrilled to see the launch of PacificSport Columbia Basin, a key viaSport Regional Sport Partner in driving increased participation of under-represented groups in sport, supporting high quality and safer sport, and ensuring that everyone in the Columbia Basin can thrive through the positive impacts of sport.”

PacificSport Columbia Basin will primarily be a virtual centre, given the mountainous geography and population distribution across the region. In-person services and programs will utilize a distributed staff as well as enhance the capacity and skills of key partners in Basin communities, according to the announcement.

Fernie’s Emily Brydon, a three-time Olympian for skiing disciplines who was inducted into the BC Sports Hall of Fame four years ago, is vice chair of PacificSport Columbia Basin.

“I firmly believe in the power of sport to enrich communities and changes lives,” Brydon said. “I am thrilled to be involved in this important organization and look forward to the positive impact we will have on children, youth and communities through our work.

Nearly half of adolescents between grades 5-8 participate in organized sports in the Basin, while over 250 vounteer-led local sports organizations, 82 schools, and more than 1,700 trained and registered coaches help deliver those programs.

There are currently over 85 high performance athletes and coaches in the region, five of which attended the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics.

Those elite performers will experience enhanced access to performance supports like physiology support, strength and conditioning facilities, nutrition, and mental performance consultants.

Additionally those same athletes, along with their aspiring high-performance peers, will have increased access to sport performance programs, including enhanced testing/ monitoring and performance education programs.