The Ballenas Secondary cinder track. (PQB News file photo)

The Ballenas Secondary cinder track. (PQB News file photo)

Parksville running coaches remain firmly behind Ballenas track upgrade project

Scaled-down plan estimated to cost $1.5M

Athletics coaches Kim and Randy Longmuir have been longtime proponents of the Ballenas Secondary track upgrade.

Both spearheaded the campaign to change the cinder track into a rubberized running surface a decade ago. They had worked tirelessly on it but due to lack of support they devoted more of their time to coaching.

The Longmuirs, however, have found renewed drive to help the project reach the finish line this time due to Qualicum School District 69’s huge commitment to get the dilapidated track improved. They are sharing their expertise and experience as members of the Oceanside Track Renewal Steering Committee, the group that is overseeing the project.

Kim said they like what they’re seeing now.

“Randy and I have been waving the track renewal flag for a very long time and feel confident that with this dedicated committee, the project will become a reality,” said Kim.

Despite not garnering the financial support it needs from the Regional District of Nanaimo, the school district has decided to forge ahead on its own.

RELATED: Parksville Qualicum Beach running track project loses traction at RDN committee level

The committee recently scaled back the project from eight lanes to six, to bring the cost down to approximately $1.5 million. The price tag for the eight-lane proposal was projected at more than $2 million.

The SD69 has committed $200,000 to the project. They are awaiting results of their applications for provincial and federal grants and plan to do more in the new year.

As well, they are seeking community partnerships and donations and plan to organize fundraisers. Qualicum Beach council passed a motion earlier this year to indicate that they’re prepared to provide financial support to the initiative.

Coun. Scott Harrison said he hopes they can set aside some of the share of the track funding the town would have contributed to the RDN had the Oceanside Services Committee endorsed the project. The RDN has already earmarked $204,407 in its 2020 budget but OSC directors refused to allocate the funds.

Kim said the goal is to make the Ballenas track safer so it can be used by all in the Parksville Qualicum Beach community. It will serve as a training facility and will not be for competition.

“As you can imagine, we were very upset and disappointed with (Parksville) mayor Mayne’s comments to the RDN, that the project should be ‘put out of its misery,’” said Kim Longmuir. “This was a man who sat at the committee table with us for almost a year, and spoke as if he fully supported the project. Mayor Mayne’s shortsightedness in thinking that the track would only be used for a small number of track and field athletes couldn’t be further from the committee’s idea that the track would be a community track used by residents to stay active and healthy.”

She believes a rubberized track will help people with mobility issues, those recovering from heart and stroke illnesses, Special Olympics and all school children.

“A huge appreciation goes out to School District 69, superintendent Dr. Keven Elder, Ballenas principal, Rudy Terpstra, and school board trustee, Elaine Young, for bringing us back together with renewed enthusiasm to keep the momentum going,” said Kim.“The idea of a multi-use sportsplex has been discussed by for many years and my thoughts are that this discussion will continue for many more years. In the interim, our community deserves a facility that will be safe for people to use.”

The Longmuirs are the coaches of Mid Island Distance running club. Due to the poor track conditions, they have refrained from using the Ballenas track at this time.

“There is too much risk for injury,” said Kim. “We currently train at Rathtrevor Park or on the Springwood trails. Unfortunately, there is a rental cost for the team to practice at the Rotary Bowl in Nanaimo, so we train there sparingly to be able to keep the cost and travel manageable for the athletes.”

Michael.Briones@pqbnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter 

Parksvillequalicum beachrunningSchools

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Kwalikum Secondary School. (SD69 photo)
COVID-19 case confirmed at Qualicum Beach high school

Public health staff are completing contact tracing

Adam Walker visits the VI Free Daily/PQB News studios. (Peter McCully photo)
PQBeat: Adam Walker eager to get to work as Parksville-Qualicum MLA

Podcast: Longtime Qualicum Beach resident discusses politics, much more

Firefighters try to put out a structure fire on the Island Highway in Nanoose Bay early Saturday morning. (Nanoose Bay Volunteer Fire Department photo)
Horses in nearby stable saved as building burns down in Nanoose Bay

Firefighters called out in the early-morning hours Saturday

Ceramic artist Darrel Hancock working on a clay jug in his home studio in Qualicum Beach. (Submitted photo)
Qualicum Beach potter Darrel Hancock celebrates 40 years in business

‘It’s wonderful to do what you love and make a living at it’

People wearing face masks to help curb the spread of COVID-19 cross a street in downtown Vancouver, on Sunday, November 22, 2020. The use of masks is mandatory in indoor public and retail spaces in the province. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. reports 17 COVID deaths, 1,933 new cases as hospitalizations surge over the weekend

There are 277 people in hospital, of whom 59 are in ICU or critical care

(Black Press Media files)
B.C. to test emergency alert system on cell phones, TVs, radios on Wednesday

The alert is part of a twice yearly test of the national Alert Ready system

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speak to the media about the COVID-19 virus outside Rideau Cottage in Ottawa, Friday, Nov. 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s inability to manufacture vaccines in-house will delay distribution: Trudeau

First doses of COVID-19 vaccine expected in first few months of 2021, prime minister says

Phillip Tallio was just 17 when he was convicted of murder in 1983 (file photo)
Miscarriage of justice before B.C. teen’s 1983 guilty plea in girl’s murder: lawyer

Tallio was 17 when he pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in the death of his 22-month-old cousin

This undated photo issued by the University of Oxford shows of vial of coronavirus vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University, in Oxford, England. Pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca said Monday Nov. 23, 2020, that late-stage trials showed its coronavirus vaccine was up to 90% effective, giving public health officials hope they may soon have access to a vaccine that is cheaper and easier to distribute than some of its rivals. (University of Oxford/John Cairns via AP)
VIDEO: How do the leading COVID vaccines differ? And what does that mean for Canada?

All three of the drug companies are incorporating novel techniques in developing their vaccines

An aerial shot of Cedar Valley Lodge this past August, LNG Canada’s newest accommodation for workers at the project site in Kitimat. This is where several employees are isolating after a COVID-19 outbreak was declared last Thursday (Nov. 19). (Photo courtesy of LNG Canada)
41 positive COVID-19 cases associated with the LNG Canada site outbreak in Kitimat

Thirty-four of the 41 cases remain active, according to Northern Health

Brenda Schroeder thought she was reading it wrong when she won $100,000 from a Season’s Greetings Scratch & Win. (Courtesy BCLC)
New home on the agenda after scratch ticket win in Saanich

Victoria woman set to share her $100,000 Season’s Greetings lottery win

7-year-old Mackenzie Hodge from Penticton sent a hand-written letter to premiere John Horgan asking if she’d be able to see her elf, Ralph under the new coronavirus restrictions. (John Horgan / Twitter)
Elf on the shelf an acceptable house guest, B.C. premier tells Penticton girl

A 7-year-old from Penticton penned a letter asking if she’d be allowed to see her elf this year

Workers arrive at the Lynn Valley Care Centre seniors home, in North Vancouver, B.C., on Saturday, March 14, 2020. It was the site of Canada’s first COVID-19 outbreak in a long-term care facility. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Rapid tests ‘not a panacea’ for care homes, Dr. Bonnie Henry says

B.C. lacks capacity for daily tests of thousands of workers

Most Read