The Regional District of Nanaimo (RDN), City of Parksville and Town of Qualicum Beach have committed $563,800 in support of School District 69 (SD69) to help fund the upgrade of the athletics track at Ballenas Secondary School in exchange for community use.
A six-lane, all-weather running surface appropriate for recreational and some competitive uses will replace the existing gravel surface, according to a joint media release. It is anticipated that the six-month upgrade project will begin after additional community funding support is secured.
“Access to well-maintained, multi-use facilities is important to the physical and mental health of all residents. We are pleased to be able to support this project alongside our member municipalities and to work together with School District 69 to ensure all in the Oceanside area can enjoy the facility for both competitive and recreational purposes,” said Tyler Brown, RDN chair.
Some of the benefits include greater access to sports and recreational activities for residents of all ages and abilities, an improved training facility for local athletes and a venue in the Oceanside area that is suitable for some competitive events.
“This much needed upgraded track will benefit the community, from someone out for a daily walk, to older athletes and high-performance athletes. This facility will be an opportunity for our youth to try sports and develop habits to last a lifetime,” said Parksville Mayor Ed Mayne.
In return for the funding support, SD69 will allow community use of the athletics track and parking lot at Ballenas Secondary School outside of school hours and scheduled school activities. SD69 will also allow access to indoor school facilities such as change rooms and access to facilities during school hours and scheduled school activities when possible.
“The Board of Education of School District 69 (Qualicum) is pleased that through regional collaboration we will realize the re-creation of a wonderful asset for not only school district students but the community as a whole,” said Eve Flynn SD69 board chair.
The RDN will continue to coordinate bookings and use of the athletics track per an existing agreement between SD69 and the RDN. SD69 will have sole financial and operational responsibility for the athletics track and parking at Ballenas Secondary School.
The RDN will fund its $257,400 portion from the Electoral Area G ($32,000) and Electoral Area H ($21,000) Community Works Funds and Northern Recreation Program Services Reserves ($204,400). Parksville will allocate $250,000 from its Gas Tax Reserve Fund. Qualicum Beach will use money from the town’s Community Development Fund to provide its $56,400 share of the support.