OPINION: Let’s see some leadership and fix the Ballenas running track

Endless committee talks haven’t solved the issue

News: Regional District of Nanaimo not ready to commit $500K to Ballenas track project.

Views: It’s kind of appropriate we’re talking about a running track here, since our leaders have a habit of going around in circles. Though at least the runners get something accomplished.

In the latest round of ‘let’s talk about it instead of actually doing anything’ from our elected politicians (it seems to be especially prevalent with the Regional District of Nanaimo, who really shouldn’t be making many decisions for the PQB area, but that’s for a different time), the long-overdue upgrades to the running track and Ballenas Secondary have hit a snag.

At the RDN’s recent committee of the whole meeting, the board acknowledged a letter from School District 69, requesting funding support from the regional district in the amount of $500,000. But the RDN board was not willing to make that commitment just yet.

How long does this process have to drag out?

We’ve pointed out before the sorry state of the track our athletes (young and old) are forced to run on.

We’ll ask again: How is it possible that after many, many years of people pointing out the problem, the track is in such shoddy condition?

You can go back almost a decade to find headlines and stories in the PQB News featuring folks clamouring for track upgrades.

Again, 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?

The latest turn was predictable: a motion to defer the request to the Oceanside Services Committee.

Round and round we go. How many committees has this been shuttled off to at this point? Are we even sure what the composition of this latest committee is?

READ MORE: Qualicum school district commits $200K toward Ballenas track upgrade

Parksville mayor and RDN director Ed Mayne pointed out the lack of information regarding the actual plans for the Ballenas track.

“I find it hard to understand what we’re going to defer quite frankly, since they don’t know what kind of a track they’re going to build,” said Mayne.

In a vacuum, he’s correct. You don’t want to be tossing around cash without specifics. But this isn’t a vacuum.

The school district started the (latest) track upgrade plans last year. To show its commitment, the board has earmarked $200,000 toward the project.

A steering committee presented a report that encouraged an eight-lane facility. They provided a review with a cost estimate.

Yet, after all these years, apparently the RDN doesn’t have the cash in its budget and still wants more information.

One more time: at this point, it’s beyond frustrating, it’s embarrassing.

We need leadership and we need it now. Quit passing the buck.

Fix the track. Yesterday.

ParksvillerunningTrack and field

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