Rubber track at Parksville high school spurs debate

The idea to bring a rubberized track to Ballenas Secondary School has regional district directors talking location.

A motion was unanimously passed at Tuesday night's Regional District of Nanaimo board meeting to approach School District 69 and the Oceanside Track and Field Club for formal support in replacing the existing track surface at Ballenas Secondary School in Parksville, but not without some dialogue as to where it would best fit.

Director Julian Fell called school yards "the worst" place for a track as "they simply don't have the resources" to maintain them.

"They don't have the experience, they don't have the staff and they're always cutting back," said Fell.

Director Bill Veenhof responded by saying: "I hear your comments about schools being less than the ideal location — that may be true but it is the only location."

Veenhof went on to say this project is in its infancy and the RDN isn't committed to building a track, but to dialogue and have preliminary studies.

"The sense I get is that (this track) is highly desired by Parksville Qualicum Beach communities," said Veenhof.

Director Willie said he "finds it tough to believe a school ground is the only place for this (track)."

"I would have liked to see this report come forward to see if there was any interest from District 69 and the Oceanside Track and Field Club to even look at some sort of formal approach, because if the school board has no interest then what's the point?" said Willie. "Between Parksville and Qualicum Beach I can think of a number of applications that may be better if we aren't going to have school board support."

Willie added, "with what we are going through with the school board right now this may be a difficult process."

Tom Osborne, RDN general manager of recreation and parks, said the location of the existing field facilities at the Oceanside Track and Field Club already in place at Ballenas Secondary School is why this site was chosen.

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