Construction and operation of a rubberized track at Ballenas Secondary School is one of the priority infrastructure projects identified in the Recreation Services Master Plan for District 69. — File photo

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The Regional District of Nanaimo board wants the District 69 Recreation Commission to review and consider the priority infrastructure projects identified in the Recreation Services Master Plan for District 69.

The master plan recommended that preference be given to the construction and operation of a rubberized track at Ballenas Secondary School, creation of an artificial turf field and expansion of the Ravensong Aquatic Centre. It suggested that staff begin planning, community review, cost estimate information and funding sources to be completed prior to the 2019-2024 financial review.

Electoral Area F Director Julian Fell made a motion to withdraw the recommendation and that the board take no action.

“There’s two reasons for that,” Fell explained. “One, it pre-empts the function of the commission. Basically, if the board endorses this plan, they basically are telling the commission that we are not going to be bothered to listen to the commission and is going ahead without them. Number two, it became evident… it was a very vigorous debate at the commission. It became quite evident that the proposal of the consultant is, as I said, a guiding document, not the final say.”

Parksville Director Kirk Oates said he was struggling over who the board should support — the commission or the master plan.

“The master plan gave us feedback that these things should be given priority preference,” said Oates. “How do we satisfy both masters? I am struggling as to which barometer should I listen to. Do I listen to the barometer from the master plan survey results, or do I listen to the barometer of the commission?”

The commission had the opportunity to review and discuss the master plan last week, ahead of the board’s approval to forward to the document to the commission for final review. The commission passed a motion that approves the master plan as a guiding document only and said that it’s not binding. The vote, however, was not a unanimous endorsement, as two of the commissioners voted against it.

CAO Phyllis Carlyle told the board that the process requires the commission to review the proposals and then give its recommendation to the board for consideration and approval.

“The commission will give their input to the board,” said Carlyle. “You also are going to have a staff report that addresses what the commission is recommending to you. The staff report would likely still recommend these three things because there isn’t any additional different information that we would see when brought forward.”

Fell said the purpose of the commission is to give consideration and advice to the board accordingly.

“If the board decides in advance what the commission has to do, then why do we have a commission?” Fell asked.

Qualicum Beach Director Teunis Westbroek said the master plan was an extensive survey that was undertaken and he feels it’s not much different from the study that was done a decade ago. He asked what more is required to be done before some action can be taken.

“How do we decide for all these three things?” Westbroek asked.

“We’ve talked about it for a long time. I would like to see the commission come up with facts and procedure how to roll this out. But to go back and forth… what do we have to do?”

A motion was made to refer the recommendation to the commission for review and consideration.

The board passed the motion, with Westbroek and Electoral Area E Director Bob Rogers opposing it.

Submit story tips to: michael.briones@pqbnews.com

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