An upgrade is being sought for the Ballenas Secondary track. — Michael Briones photo

Regional District of Nanaimo to join Ballenas track upgrade committee

Parksville director Mayne prefers eight-lane track

School District 69 has formally invited the Regional District of Nanaimo to be part of its initiative to upgrade the cinder track at Ballenas Secondary.

School board chairwoman Eve Flynn has sent the chairman of the RDN, Ian Thorpe, a letter to consider appointing a director and staff to sit on the Ballenas Track Renewal Steering Committee that will spearhead the fundraising effort for the project.

The RDN board acknowledged the letter and Thorpe has asked anyone interested in being regional district representative in the committee to come forward.

Parksville Mayor Ed Mayne told The NEWS he is willing to sit on the committee either as a representative of the city or for the RDN.

School District 69 board has already committed $200,000 the track upgrade track and is seeking community engagement in generating funds to transform the track into an asset to the school district and the community at large.

RELATED: Petition launched seeking upgrade of Ballenas Secondary Track

RELATED: Qualicum school district commits $200k toward Ballenas track upgrade

RELATED: RDN wants to play role in Ballenas track upgrade

The initial cost estimate to build the track is approximately $1 million for a six-lane oval track with eight sprint lanes. But the SD69 engineers have also provided viable options for either a six-lane or an eight-lane track. Flynn indicated in her letter, that would mean the steering committee will also be looking to recommend either six lanes or eight lanes based on community need.

Mayne said if the project goes ahead, he would like to see an eight-lane track as it would allow an opportunity for the region to hold track meets.

Currently, there is a petition going pushing to have the Ballenas track upgrade done now. It’s being headed by the group, Oceanside United. It has already collected close to 1,400 signatures.

The group wants the RDN to contribute towards the track upgrade which one of the priorities cited in the RDN’s Recreation Services Master Plan for District 69 that was completed last year.

Electoral Area H director Stuart McLean’s motion to have RDN staff work with SD69 to develop a detailed plan using up to $100,000 of funds that the RDN had allocated in the 2019 budget for this purpose was not approved by the RDN board as it still requires more information.

The RDN board will select a director and staff to sit on the Ballenas Track Renewal Steering Committee.

Those who want to sign the Oceanside United petition can go online at: http://bit.do/track4all

Michael.Briones@pqbnews.com

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