The Centre's economic output has been calculated at $7 million in the first year (construction), with operation years starting at $1.3 million.
Mt. Washington is a significant attraction for tourists on Vancouver Island and an important asset enjoyed by local residents. Economic activity generated by both groups is an integral part of the regional economy.
Outdoor enthusiasts visiting Mount Washington and the Strathcona Provincial Park did not have a central location to assemble and learn about the alpine activities available in the region. There was a need for a facility that could accommodate education camps, school retreats and mountain athlete training programs. In addition, the 2010 Olympic Games created an opportunity to attract international athletes to train at Mount Washington creating additional exposure for the region and its attractions. As a result, the Vancouver Island Mountain Sports Society set out to create a unique destination experience in the region, aiming to attract international athletes, competitions and media attention. Simultatneously, the Society wanted to leave behind an economic development legacy for the community, athletes and other user groups.
The Vancouver Island Mountain Centre was constructed adjacent to the Raven Lodge, cross-country ski trails and access to Strathcona Provincial Park wilderness trails. The fully accessible centre has 10 dormitory-style rooms, 1 with 4 wheelchair-accessible beds. The Centre can accommodate groups of up to 40 people. The large hostel-style commercial kitchen and dining room can entertain 50 people. Fitness facilities promoting Fitness for Life education provides resources for community members of all ages and fitness levels to develop their abilities. The Centre also showcases the region’s cultural heritage, including displaying the work of local artists.
With direct access to Mt. Washington’s cross-country ski trails and biathlon centre, the Centre, completed in 2009, has served as a premiere sport tourism amenity. It has already been used several times as a staging area for international biathlon events, IPC International Paralympic cross-country skiing championships, as well as a training camp venue for international athletes, national cross-country and biathlon ski teams and local and regional teams.The Centre also serves as a staging area for alpine access to Strathcona Provincial Park, community group retreats and courses, multi-sport camps, outdoor education seminars and other special events.