Qualicum Beach agrees to contribute $56,400 to Oceanside Community Track project

Photo courtesy of Oceanside Community Track Committee.
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Qualicum Beach town council agreed to provide $56,400 to the Oceanside community track project at Ballenas Secondary School.

Town staff presented a report to council with options to support the project at the July 21 regular meeting. 

John Marsh, director of finance, said the unique nature of the project made it a challenging report. Limited public access, due to it being located at the school, created challenges fitting financial contribution options into existing guidelines, he said. 

“It’s definitely more difficult than it would be at  a community park in terms of having public access,” Marsh said. “There is no date in terms of usage and we are really not sure how the restrictions to the Ballenas site during school hours, for instance, or school activities later in the evening — how all those thing will work out towards the public.”

Council carried the staff recommendation of $56,400 after being presented with options to contribute more, or nothing at all. Marsh presented an alternate sum of $93,785, based on the town’s formula for funding sports fields. 

“Staff felt, and this is without data, that our usage would be lower than that because the school site and most of Qualicum Beach’s students are at KSS, not Ballenas,” he said. 

The motion was carried unanimously, but Coun. Robert Filmer said he struggled to support it.

“If Parksville is not really willing to step up to a bit more of a higher amount because it is in their borders and that high school is right within their area I have no problem helping out, but our taxpayers are paying for something that is not in our borders again,” he said, adding he hopes the assistance is returned to the town in the future.

Coun. Teunis Westbroek compared the project to others ongoing, such as seeking funds for search and rescue, “it’s like when you go to a place for a drink and when the bill comes, everyone disappears and we are sitting at the table,” he said. “It would be nice if they reciprocated in our trying to be good neighbours.”

Parksville city council agreed in April to contribute $250,000 to the track project.

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