Rubber track debate

The recommendations for a track at Ballenas School were deemed by the public as costly, short term, “shoehorn” solutions.

Re: Rubber track spurs debate (The NEWS, March 27).

With reference to the RDN’s 10-year Recreation Services Master Plan for Oceanside dated July 2006, prepared by PERC Ltd., page 62 under recommendations, the report states “One of the major facilities that is needed in Oceanside is a multi-purpose recreation facility. Of the facilities that might be included in a comprehensive recreation centre, PERC feels that the most important are gymnasiums, an indoor running track (similar to the one in the Guildford Recreation Centre), a number of multi-purpose meeting and activity rooms, and a space dedicated to youth.”

In September 2008, Yates, Thorn & Associates Inc. prepared a District 69 Track and Field Facility Plan for SD69 and the RDN with several proposed options. The recommendations for a track at Ballenas School were deemed by the public as costly, short term, “shoehorn” solutions. In the same study, the option for a Sportplex was down-played due to a lack of land availability. This suggestion was challenged by the D69 Recreation Commission at that time. A secondary study revealed 22 potential sites for a future sportplex in Oceanside.

Unfortunately, the track and field study was put on the back-burner at that time, when it was discovered Ravensong Pool needed major renovations and repairs. As a past volunteer on the D69 Recreation Commission for 13 years, I support director Julian Fell’s comment that a  school yard is the wrong place for a “community” track and agree with director Dave Willie that it is hard to fathom there is no other land available in D69 to build a track.

This short-term thinking for a “track and field” solution reminds me of the RDN process to upgrade the old ice arena in Parksville (now the curling rink), which, after some study, led to the Oceanside Place ice arena complex. I encourage RDN’s recreation department and the board to think long term about sport tourism and taxpayer investments for future Oceanside youth, residents, opportunity and our local economy. Go back to the drawing board on this one.

Reg Nosworthy


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