Editorial: Young PQB athletes deserve some better facilities

“Fix the track. Yesterday.”

Last week, School District 69 (Qualicum) staged its annual district track and field meet at Ballenas Secondary.

It featured elementary school athletes who competed in a wide variety of events: running, jumping, throwing and more.

If you flip to page 14 of this very publication, you can see a handful of photos of said young athletes.

Visit our website and Facebook page and you can find even more images.

Now, check out some of those photos and a pattern will begin to emerge.

Exactly what kind of sorry track are the poor kids running on?

How is it possible that after many, many years of people pointing out the problem, the track is in such shoddy condition?

Check out these headlines:

‘Ballenas track needs an upgrade’ – PQB News, Aug. 31, 2012

‘Local running club wants track to be upgraded’ – PQB News, Feb 23, 2018

‘Athletes go the distance on rough turf’ – PQB News, May 2, 2017

‘Official calls for Ballenas track upgrade’– PQB News, Sep 10, 2018

‘ORCA continues push for track upgrade at Ballenas’ —PQB News, Nov 14, 2018

We could go on and on.

How long must we continue to wait? Will it take a severe injury to a young athlete to get our politicians to quit passing the buck around and actually get something done?

At this point, it’s beyond frustrating, it’s embarrassing.

We’ve watched as committees get named and renamed, each time pushing aside potential solutions. Folks who have spent countless hours pushing for recreation improvements have finally thrown up their hands.

Randy White resigned from the District 69 recreation commission in April, following in the footsteps of recreation commissioner for Area F, Reg Nosworthy, who tendered his resignation as well.

“I found out the RDN is quite oblivious to the future needs of Parksville. It is clear to me that Area G should become a part of Parksville city through the Municipal Governance Act as the city could not possibly do a worse job,” said White in a stinging condemnation of Regional District of Nanaimo officials.

Before his resignation, Nosworthy said: “the RDN has been studying, proposing and stalling on solutions to major issues regarding an overcrowded Ravensong pool, a deteriorating track and field at Ballenas School and the concept for a future Oceanside indoor/outdoor sportsplex recreation facility since about 2004, well over 15 years ago.”

We said then (as we and many others have said on a variety of occasions) it is time to stop putting things off, passing the buck and contemplating the collective navel.

Yet here we are, months later, and the youngsters are still running on weed-covered rubbish. At some point, you have to figure a true leader will step up and actually address the problem. But finding actual leadership has proven difficult, to say the least.

Fix the track. Yesterday.

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