School board wants input on future of Parksville high school’s track

Board believes there are many options in regards to the Ballenas Secondary School track and playing field

CARLI BERRY

reporter@pqbnews.com

Discussions are still ongoing between the Regional District of Nanaimo and School District 69 on what to do with the track at Ballenas Secondary School.

At last week’s School District 69 board meeting, trustee Julie Austin said the RDN was unsure of where the board stood regarding upgrades to the track or creating a multi sport complex.

“I believe the RDN doesn’t really have a clear picture of where the school district is coming from when it comes to the Ballenas track,” she said.

She said the board should consult the community to determine if a multi-sport complex would be used.

“What does this community want to see? Do we want to see a full-blown, multi-sports complex and the money and time involved with that… (or) just a track used for local use but doesn’t have event potential?”

Austin said that adding a turf field would be beneficial for soccer and football.

Austin continued that this would be at no cost to the school district in building or maintenance costs.

“It’s not committing our school district to anything,” she said.

Barry Kurland, vice chair for the school district said that a multi purpose sports track might not be viable at the Ballenas location “There’s so many other things (to consider),” he said.

Austin said the RDN is looking at the location of Ballenas, as well as other options for the use of a multi-purpose sports track.

“I think the community needs to have that full range of options,” Austin said.

Superintendent Rollie Koop said this discussion was nothing new, the discussion of expanding the track has been going on for years.

He continued that an upgraded track may not be reasonable in the Parksville area.

In previous discussions the “community was primarily represented by the Oceanside Track and Field who are the primary users of that track.”

He said for training purposes, an upgraded track would be useful for the track and field association, but not for competitions.

He also said parking, and access issues would have to be discussed for a multi-sports complex.