A centre of excellence

Kimberley’s new Conference and Athlete Training Centre grand opening offers moments of inspiration

by Tanya Lang Gahr

When the City of Kimberley officially opened the doors to the gorgeous state-of-the-art Kimberley Conference and Athlete Training Centre (KCATC) at the base of Kimberley Alpine Resort, it was to a packed house. Among the dignitaries on hand were Schaun Goodeve, the president of the Kimberley & District Chamber of Commerce; Bill Bennett, MLA for Kootenay East; Kimberley mayor Jim Ogilvie; Andy Cohen, the general manager for Resorts of the Canadian Rockies; Greg Deck, vice-chair of Columbia Basin Trust; Cindy Popescul, the director of the Southern Interior Development Initiative Trust; Jerry Johnston, a Member of the Order of Canada and a recipient of the International Paralympic Order for 30 years of work in adaptive skiing; and Rick Jensen, founder and chair of New Dawn Developments, the general contractor for the building’s construction.

The speakers all paid tribute to the design of the building, which allows maximum accessibility for athletes training at Kimberley Alpine Resort. The interior reflects the mountains that surround it, including wood features, granite columns and soft-as-snow lights in the main foyer. The speakers also commended the private and public organizations that came together to help create the conference centre, with Ogilvie given credit for his tenacity, persistence and vision for Kimberley’s future.

The MoMo Mixed Ability Dance Theatre—a Calgary-based troupe of artists with various disabilities—performed two interpretive dance numbers that beautifully illustrated that physical ability is no impairment to creating and reaching goals.

One of the highlights of the grand opening was speaker Josh Dueck, a Kimberley native who lost the use of his legs after severing his spine in 2004 in a ski jump gone horribly wrong. Dueck described his life as being turned upside down, but rallied to become a renowned disabled skier and silver medallist in the 2010 Vancouver Paralympic Games. Dueck spoke about the importance of being persistent, making the best of every situation and never backing down.

For more information on the centre, visit www.meetkimberley.ca.

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