Julio Alvarez

Julio Alvarez

Triathlon headquarters construction underway at Elk Lake

Gone is the landmark Elk Lake Restaurant that churned out ice cream to beach-goers on hot days.

  • Jul. 24, 2013 7:00 p.m.

Gone is the landmark Elk Lake Restaurant that churned out ice cream to beach-goers on hot days.

In its place will soon be an administration building that’ll house LifeSport Coaching and the Western Subaru triathlon series, which will help churn out Olympic-level athletes.

Work on the new building is underway, and owners Paul Regensburg and Lance Watson held a groundbreaking ceremony on Wednesday to mark the milestone.

“We see this as a future gathering spot for the endurance community,” Regensburg said.

“This is the hub for triathlon training right here. We’ve brought Simon Whitfield, Brent McMahon on running practices countless times around this lake trail. This location has some of the best spots to ride from, and we’re 200 metres from the water of Elk Lake,” added Watson.

Saanich Mayor Frank Leonard says adding the triathlon home to the area, which already boasts training Olympic athletes at the nearby rowing centre, Commonwealth pool and Pacific Institute of Sport Excellence, is a natural step for Saanich.

“The turning point for Saanich was the Commonwealth Games in ’94 and the years leading up to it. That pool was perhaps going to UVic or perhaps going to the City of Victoria, but we stepped in and said we can make it not just a competition venue, but a community venue. And our sports community has really just grown since then,” he said.

Saanich South MLA Lana Popham, the NDP’s critic for small business, tourism, arts and culture, says this is a “significant” get for Saanich.

“The amount of money that’s generated from sports tourism is really significant,” she said. “For the Subaru triathlon that happens here at Elk Lake, every out of town visitor brings 3.5 people with them, each spending a night in a hotel and investing money in our community.”

Regensburg says the aim is to have construction of the two-storey, 275-square-metre building complete by mid-January 2014.

“One landmark’s gone, but a new landmark’s taking its place,” Leonard added. “It’s a modest building but a big impact.”

kslavin@saanichnews.com