Ground broken on new pumphouse for Ottawa River paddlers

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(press release)

OTTAWA, ON – On Tuesday morning, the Ottawa River Runners (ORR) held a public groundbreaking to celebrate a milestone in their long-awaited quest to replace the shipping containers from which they have operated for the past few decades with a proper home. Local MPP Yasir Naqvi, MP Catherine McKenna, Mayor Jim Watson and Councillor Catherine McKenney joined club members, as well as Olympians Cameron Smedley and Michael Tayler, James Puddicombe, a volunteer with the Ontario Trillium Foundation, and Dr. Mark Kristmanson, the CEO of the National Capital Commission, to mark the event.

Since the 1980s, the Ottawa River Runners have been working hard to improve the Pumphouse for recreational and competitive paddlers in the urban core of Canada’s capital to enjoy. It is an ideal location that is a short distance from Parliament Hill and easily accessible by bicycle, transit or car for students and adults alike looking to get out on the water. Before today’s announcement, the only missing piece was a proper off-water facility to compliment the world-class whitewater course.

Plans for the stunning new Barry J. Hobin-designed clubhouse and storage facility were unveiled and will be ready for Canada’s sesquicentenary in 2017. Just in time for the club and capital to host the Canadian Whitewater National Championships. All the pieces necessary for the new on-shore facility, that will complement one of the best whitewater courses in the country fell into place earlier this year.

The ORR learned in December 2015 that it had received a $150,000 Capital grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation to help with construction costs, something that was recognized at the ceremony today when MPP Naqvi and James Puddicombe presented Dr. Corkery with a plaque from the Foundation to commemorate the occasion.

“The Ottawa River Runners is keeping our community active – from young to old! I am so proud that the Ontario Trillium Foundation is funding a new clubhouse at the Pumphouse facility that has helped train the likes of Michael Tayler and Cameron Smedley – Olympic athletes from our community. This $150,000 infrastructure grant will help with a new clubhouse that would help kids and professional athletes excel in the sports of whitewater paddling and canoe kayak. Over 500 people in our community will directly benefit from this investment!”

– Yasir Naqvi, MPP Ottawa Centre

This helped the club realize that the building was finally something they could afford and spent the first half of 2016 working with stakeholders at the National Capital Commission, Rideau River Conservation Authority and the City of Ottawa to secure all the necessary approvals for the project to move forward.

Once the new building opens in 2017, the club is excited to expand the recreational programs and summer day camps it offers. We hope the next generation will love paddling as much as the last and go on to represent us at the Olympics like local whitewater slalom sensations Cameron Smedley and Michael Tayler did in Rio this past summer.

“This has been a personal dream for what seems like forever. I am really excited to imagine that next year we will have a club building for all of our activities, our summer camps, our competitive programs and especially for our National Whitewater Championships.”

– Dr. Doug Corkery, President of the Ottawa River Runners

“I am so pleased to celebrate this groundbreaking with the Ottawa River Runners! We are so fortunate to have this amazing club which trains world class athletes in the heart of our city. We will look forward to hosting the Canadian Whitewater National Championships here in Ottawa next year.”

– Catherine McKenna, Member of Parliament for Ottawa Centre

“The National Capital Commission is proud of its long-term partnership with the Ottawa River Runners. This environmentally sustainable and architecturally distinctive kayaking centre will enhance the Capital’s shorelines, showcase design excellence, and provide a focal point during the 2017 Canadian Whitewater National Championships.”

– Dr. Mark Kristmanson, Chief Executive Officer of the National Capital Commission

“I commend Ottawa River Runners on their hard work in securing the funds for their much needed club house,” said Mayor Jim Watson. “The new facility will be a great addition to the club and will be ready just in time for the Whitewater Canoe Kayak National Championships in 2017. Ottawa is proud to once again host these Championships and to count them as part of the official Ottawa 2017 celebrations. ”

– Mayor Jim Watson

I wish to congratulate the Ottawa River Runners on realizing their dream of building a permanent clubhouse and storage facility. It is very exciting that construction of the facility will begin this week and that the new clubhouse will allow for the expansion of whitewater paddling recreational programs to the community. The new clubhouse will be a huge asset to Somerset Ward and the city of Ottawa.

– Councillor Catherine McKenney, Somerset Ward

The Ottawa River Runners is an organization dedicated to whitewater paddling and the stewards of the Pumphouse Whitewater facility. It provides an introduction to the sport and ongoing development with a range of opportunities for paddlers of all ages and abilities to pursue their personal paddling goals. To learn more about the Club and programs, please visit the website at: www.ottawariverrunners.com

The Pumphouse Whitewater facility located in LeBreton Flats consists of a Class 2 whitewater course complimented by a flatwater section near Richmond Landing that is used by recreational and competitive paddlers. It is a regional Centre of Excellence for Whitewater Slalom and the home course of many national and provincial competitive paddlers notably Olympians Michael Tayler (2012 and 2016) and Cameron Smedley (2016). Smedley also won a silver medal at the Toronto 2015 PanAm games.

An agency of the Government of Ontario, the Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF) is one of Canada’s largest granting foundations. With a budget of over $136 million, OTF awards grants to some 1,000 projects every year to build healthy and vibrant Ontario communities. For more information, please visit: www.otf.ca

(Article via Barry J. Hobin architectural firm)


OttawaStart Staff

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