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

(PQB News file photo)
Qualicum Beach voters head back to the polls on May 15

Byelection will be held to replace former councillor (now MLA) Adam Walker

Ecko Aleck, recipient of $5,000 award for Indigenous entrepreneurs presented by Young Entrepreneurs Symposium. (photo courtesy of Adam Ziorio Photography)
Qualicum Beach woman one of 20 winners in nationwide challenge for Indigenous entrepreneurs

Ecko Aleck plans to create youth council with paid consultation

The Town of Qualicum Beach East Village Revitalization project has received a grant from the B.C. government. (Town of Qualicum Beach illustration )
Parksville Qualicum Beach projects receive more than $1M in provincial funds

Chamber of Commerce plans to establish micro-fullfilment centre to aid area businesses

(PQB News file photo)
Qualicum Beach offers to establish temporary cold-weather shelter

Move would provide aid to a maximum of 15 individuals

(PQB News file photo)
Parksville city council approves spending $235,000 for ERWS water treatment plant

$87K expected as reimbursement via ERWS Joint Ventures Agreement

Dr. Bonnie Henry talk about the next steps in B.C.'s COVID-19 Immunization Plan during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, January 22, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
456 new COVID-19 cases in B.C., 2 deaths

Since January 2020, 78,278 have tested positive for the novel coronavirus in B.C.

The Port of Nanaimo has signed a 50-year-agreement with DP World around short-sea shipping operations at Duke Point Terminal. (News Bulletin file photo)
Lease ‘important first step’ in $105-million Nanaimo port expansion project

Port of Nanaimo and DP World sign 50-year shipping operations agreement for Duke Point

A BC Ferries worker out of Swartz Bay has tested positive for COVID-19. (Black Press Media file photo)
Swartz Bay ferry worker confirmed to have COVID-19

Employees in direct contact with worker now isolating

“Support your city” reads a piece of graffiti outside the Ministry of Finance office. (Jane Skrypnek/News Staff)
Slew of anti-bylaw graffiti ‘unacceptable’ says Victoria mayor, police

Downtown businesses, bylaw office and Ministry of Finance vandalized Wednesday morning

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette)
Vaccinating essential workers before seniors in B.C. could save lives: experts

A new study says the switch could also save up to $230 million in provincial health-care costs

The late Michael Gregory, 57, is accused of sexually exploiting six junior high students between 1999 and 2005. (Pixabay)
Former Alberta teacher accused of sexually assaulting students found dead in B.C.

Mounties say Michael Gregory’s death has been deemed ‘non-suspicious’

According to a new poll, a majority of Canadians want to see illicit drugs decriminalized. (THE ASSOCIATED PRESS)
Majority of Canadians think it’s high time to decriminalize illicit drugs: poll

More than two-times the B.C. residents know someone who died from an overdose compared to rest of Canada

Photograph By @KAYLAXANDERSON
VIDEO: Lynx grabs lunch in Kamloops

A lynx surprises a group of ducks and picks one off for lunch

Most Read