The Oceanside Services Committee has endorsed a recommendation for the Regional District of Nanaimo board to approve funding for the running track upgrade at Ballenas Secondary.
The RDN staff confirmed the $1.5-million project meets the criteria of the Community Works Funds, making Electoral Area G’s (French Creek, San Pareil, Little Qualicum, Englishman River) commitment of $32,000 and Area H’s (Bowser, Qualicum Bay, Deep Bay) contribution of $21,000 official.
Staff recommended the RDN board approve a Community Works Funds compliant contribution agreement to be entered with School Distict 69 (Qualicum) to secure community access and to fund the upgrades. It will also include an RDN funding of $204,000, that will come from the 2021 Financial Plan Recreation Program Services Reserve Account.
The agreement will ensure the public will have adequate access to the track and that both capital funding for future repairs and annual operating funding for regular maintenance are in place.
Manager of recreation services, Dean Banman, informed the committee at its meeting on June 10 the school district and community partners’ fundraising initiatives have gained significant traction, including donations, sponsorship and applications for grant funding that makes the project a feasible undertaking.
The Oceanside Community Track Committee, which consist of representatives of the school district, track and field groups, RDN, City of Parksville and Town of Qualicum Beach, aims to raise $1.5 million by the end of the year.
The plan is to create a six-lane rubberized training track with construction expected to start early next year and completed by the fall of 2022.
Area G director Lehann Wallace extended an invitation to the Areas E and F to also contribute a portion of its Community Work Funds to the project.
“It really is an important community asset that has a wide usability all-year round recreational opportunity for the Oceanside area,” said Wallace.
Parksville mayor and director Ed Mayne, initially opposed to the project, is now convinced it can proceed based on the significant progress the track committee has achieved this year.
“This is not going to be a track where it can hold meets because it’s only six lanes instead of eight lanes, but it’s going to be a great track for training and provide facilities for the residents of Oceanside,” said Mayne. “So I think it’s a great compromise all the way around.”
Mayne indicated Parksville has committed $250,000 and Qualicum Beach is poised to finalize the amount it plans to contribute.
“Based on all of that, we’re getting real close to a number where we can start t0 have construction on this,” said Mayne. “It’s only been going on since what 2008 or some ridiculous time from there. So let’s get it done.”