Mark Arendz ski park to get $3M in improvements
Park had major upgrades before 1991 Canada Winter Games, but now needs updating
Prince Edward Island's Mark Arendz Provincial Ski Park at Brookvale is getting $3 million in upgrades ahead of the 2023 Canada Winter Games.
P.E.I. will welcome 3,600 athletes for the 2023 games, and organizers estimate the economic impact to the Island will be $110 million, making it the biggest event held in the history of P.E.I.
"The big part of this upgrade and the announcement today is to bring everything up to current standards," Arendz told CBC News via Zoom.
"To have the facility is a great start, and that was the legacy from the '91 Canada Games, but over the last 20 years — biathlon is still a traditional sport, cross-country even more so, but — there's just been some elements that have upgraded now."
The work will upgrade the nordic or cross-country ski venue, ski trails, the biathlon shooting range, the start and finish area and what's called a penalty circuit. There will also be improvements to the timing building and lodge, which will allow the lodge to be used year-round for a multitude of events such as mountain biking and running, Arendz said.
Half of the funding is coming from the federal government and the province will pay the other $1.5 million.
'Ecstatic' about upgrades
Arendz said it'll make events like biathlon easier. With a move to more people skiing freestyle, which requires a wider path, trails at the park are not wide enough and some of the money will be used to expand them so at least two competitors can be side-by-side during an event.
The work has already started, but will cease for the winter months and start again in the spring. Officials anticipate the work will be completed by fall 2022.
Canada Games 2023 board chair Wayne Carew said the upgrades will provide a world-class athletic facility and make it more inclusive.
P.E.I.'s Minister of Economic Growth and Tourism Matthew MacKay said "it feels really good to be talking about something positive" in this year of COVID-19. He said the improvements will have a positive effect on the Island, by enhancing the park for Islanders and visitors for many years to come.
Catherine McKenna, federal minister of infrastructure and communities, said during the announcement she is excited about the jobs the money will create, as well as creating more inclusive communities.
The provincial ski park was renamed in 2018 for Arendz, who won six medals at the paralympics in Pyeongchang. He grew up skiing on the course.
Arendz said he is "ecstatic" about the improvements, and wants to share the "fantastic facility" with more people who want to become active. He's excited to share P.E.I. with the nation in 2023, and see the next generation of athletes take shape.
He is currently training toward the 2022 Paralympic Winter Games in Beijing.
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With files from Tony Davis