As a citizen of Milton I can’t help but feel like we’ve totally won gold here with the Velodrome facility that is being built to house events at the upcoming Pan Am and Parapan Am Games. The Velodrome will feature a UCI (International Cycling Union) standard 250-metre oval track for cyclists – the only one of its kind in Canada and only the second in North America. I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to check out the events when the Games pass through Milton in the summer of 2015.
Here is why the Velodrome is good for Milton:
For starters, the facility isn’t costing us much. According to Milton.ca, “the velodrome project budget is $56.0M.” The Government of Canada is funding $38.4 million of the total costs. The Milton.ca FAQ, which you can read here, reveals that, “the future costs of operating the facility will be $4.10 per person annually.” Not bad, especially considering Milton’s population growth has the potential to reduce that minuscule annual hit even further as more young families move to Milton.
Milton wins with the Velodrome, and so does Canada.
The Velodrome will represent the new home for Canadian cyclists and Olympic-bound athletes who have previously been forced to explore world-class cycling training outside of the country. Thanks to the Velodrome, our Olympic hopefuls can stay home and maximize their potential with the 250-metre Category 1 Homologated Cycling Track at their disposal, year ’round.
The Canadian National Cycling Team will finally have a place to train and prepare without needing to travel overseas, or across the border to the U. S.. This significant improvement to the Canadian cycling infrastructure will work wonders toward earning more desirable international cycling results in competitions against the world’s best.
As it currently happens in Canada, our top cyclists prosper during the summer road season, but lack the necessary facilities to maintain top level training throughout the winter months, which causes our national cycling program to focus most of its attention on only six of ten potential Olympic cycling events. The Velodrome will drastically improve that.
As a country, we’ve embraced monumental improvements in infrastructure which have allowed Canada to send top athletes to the Winter Games, where we’ve recently posted the best results in Winter Olympic history – by winning the most gold medals at a single Winter Olympics in 2010 with 14 Gold medals won. But, we’re still kilometres behind the world’s top nations regarding Summer Olympic success. The Velodrome offers a solution in cycling, with Milton at the forefront of the movement.
Our youth will benefit from the Milton based Velodrome.
According to the FAQ Page at http://make-it-happen.ca:
“Milton is also looking to build interest in school age athletes, which will help ensure a group of users that will be ready to move onto the track when it is completed.
“Of equal importance is the impact on the health and well-being of Canadians as we raise the profile of the sport [cycling] in this country. As we develop gold medal athletes, interest and support for cycling will grow which will lead to more cyclists on the road, thus reducing our carbon footprint, air pollution, urban congestion and health care costs.”
The arrival of the Milton Velodrome provides the promise of professional and amateur world-class cycling programs and training opportunities that will boost Milton’s profile, population, and will in turn increase the growth of Milton real estate – good news for property owners.
Also included in the Velodrome: track cycling development programs for cyclists of all ages and levels, plus it will facilitate cross-training for all cycling styles.
More unique and convenient features of the Velodrome in Milton:
*Local, regional, provincial, national and international training and event hosting opportunities.
*Bike Pro/ Repair Shop.
*Sports programs, such as, basketball, volleyball and badminton.
*Fitness classes and activities available to the people of Milton.
*30-people meeting rooms.
The Velodrome will benefit Milton directly, but it also puts us on the map as the Home of Canadian Cycling, earning us credibility on the world stage. Australia and the U. K. have already placed significant importance on the development of Olympic-level cyclists: this is Canada’s big global cycling splash. With all-year ’round usability, the Velodrome meets every international competition standard needed to host international events, championships and official UCI competitions featuring our own top cyclists, and the best from around the planet.
The Velodrome is scheduled to open its doors in the fall of 2014. I gotta say, I’m pretty excited to check this place out. I think a lot of Milton families with young children are excited about having a place like the Velodrome in our own backyard – a place where our children can enjoy the luxuries of a world class recreation centre so close to home.
The Velodrome will be located in the Milton Education Village (MEV) – a 450 acre, soon to be constructed parcel of land that offers a prosperous blend of post-secondary education with commercial and residential real estate opportunities… but that’s another post for another day in the near future.
Do Canadians cycle, or have a need for a place like the Milton Velodrome?
When the initial Velodrome proposals surfaced a few years back, one of the biggest fears among Milton’s citizens, was that the Velodrome would be rendered useless after the Pan Am Games. But it’s worth noting in rebuttal that Canada isn’t exactly teeming with world-class UCI regulated velodrome cycling tracks providing alternatives for our athletes. In fact, as I’ve mentioned earlier in this blog, the Milton Velodrome is the only one of its kind in Canada. In other words, Canada’s best cyclists need a place like the Velodrome in Milton. And who knows, since the only other facility of equal stature in North America is located in California we may even see many American athletes from the northeast states choose Milton as their winter training choice due it’s it proximity.
That being said, before we compare the Velodrome to previous Olympic or Pan Am venues which have failed after international events concluded, let us realize why this is much different. The Velodrome is not another hockey arena or stadium reliant on selling out multiple million dollar shows per year like Montreal’s Olympic stadium, or other past failed venues. Conversely, the Velodrome is the only place in Canada where our finest cyclists can truly maximize their potential and enjoy the 12-months of training required to compete against the world’s best.
So, the only other question that remains is: do Canadians care enough about cycling to make good use of the Velodrome?
According to The Globe And Mail, “cycling is the new golf.” The article in The Globe – which you can read here – goes on to reveal that there are more than 10,000 registered competitive cyclists in Canada, and a recent surge in cycling has seen that number rise about 10 per cent, annually. Canadians do in fact cycle to stay in shape, and thousands do it competitively, as well. Now we have a UCI standardized world-class velodrome track at our disposal, in Milton.