Athletes train on the dilapidated Ballenas Secondary track. (PQB News file photo)

Athletes train on the dilapidated Ballenas Secondary track. (PQB News file photo)

Track and field club staging bottle drive for $1.5M Parksville track upgrade

Committee aims to raise funds by the end of 2021

The Oceanside Track and Field Club is hosting a bottle drive to help raise funds for the Ballenas track upgrade project.

The event will be held at the Parksville Bottle Depot on May 16 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. All proceeds will go to the Community Track Project, which needs to raise $1.5 million to pay for the creation of an all-season, six-lane training track at Ballenas Secondary School.

The current cinder track at the school that was built in the last century is in a dilapidated state and is past the end of its life cycle. It’s no longer safe to train on forcing some of the elite athletes in the Parksville Qualicum Beach area to travel to other communities such as Nanaimo, Port Alberni and Courtenay where there are better running facilities.

The School District of 69 has taken the lead on the project and has already allocated $200,000. An Oceanside Community Track Committee was formed to undertake the task of raising $1.5 million to advance the project. They are hoping to land funds via donations and grants from provincial and federal sources.

RELATED: City of Parksville to allocate $250k to Ballenas track upgrade project

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The support for the project is gaining traction at the local government levels. The Town of Qualicum Beach has committed to contributing to the project but is still determining the appropriate amount it would like to donate to the cause.

The City of Parksville has taken the steps to allocate around $250,000 from its gas tax while Electoral Areas G (French Creek, San Pareil, Little Qualicum, Englishman River), and H (Bowser, Qualicum Bay, Deep Bay) have each decided to draw money from its Community Work Funds and contribute to the track project, $32,000 and $21,000 respectively.

The committee hopes to secure the funds by the end of the year and start construction by the spring of 2022 with completion in the fall of 2022.

For more information visit the Oceanside Community Track website at https://www.oceansidecommunitytrack.ca/

Michael.Briones@pqbnews.com

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