The Ballenas track upgrade project in Parksville has received support from the Regional District of Nanaimo. (PQB News file photo)

The Ballenas track upgrade project in Parksville has received support from the Regional District of Nanaimo. (PQB News file photo)

Regional District of Nanaimo commits more than $500,000 for Parksville running track

Ballenas Secondary School track’s total project cost will be $1.2 million

A running track upgrade project in Parksville is sprinting toward the finish line.

The $1.2-million project has been endorsed by the Regional District of Nanaimo, which has agreed to collectively commit $563,800.

The board approved a contribution agreement at its regular meeting on Jan. 11, to support the School District 69’s plan to transform Ballenas Secondary School’s dilapidated cinder track into an all-season rubberized facility.

“Access to well-maintained, multi-use facilities is important to the physical and mental health of all residents,” said Tyler Brown, RDN chairperson. “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 … area can enjoy the facility for both competitive and recreational purposes.”

In exchange, the school district will ensure the public will have access to the proposed six-lane training track outside school hours, including parking and other amenities when possible, such as a washroom and changing area inside the school. It also puts in place funding for future repairs and annual maintenance costs.

READ MORE: Parksville Lions donate $10,000 toward refurbishing of dilapidated Ballenas track

Eve Flynn, school district board chairperson, said she was pleased that “through regional collaboration we will realize the recreation of a wonderful asset for not only school district students but the community as a whole.”

Parksville Mayor Ed Mayne said the track upgrade is “much-needed” and will benefit the community, young and old.

Parksville will allocate $250,000 from its gas tax reserve fund while Qualicum Beach will be using funds from the town’s community development fund to provide its $56,400 share of the support.

“This is an excellent example of regional collaboration advancing the well-being of our joint youth and senior populations,” said Qualicum Beach Mayor Brian Wiese.

The Oceanside Community Track Committee, which has spearheaded the fundraising effort of the project, has also been working hard to reach their goal.

Fundraising coordinator Michael Garland said the project will cost $1.2 million but they want to raise another $300,000 to make sure there is funding in place for any unforeseen repairs or maintenance issues that may arise.

“We’re so pleased to hear the RDN’s commitment and what that means in a nutshell is to tender we go,” said Garland. “That’s how quickly it could come about. The school board administrator has been working on the terms for the request for proposals and are currently being drafted and will soon be issued. This is happening.”

Recently, the committee received $10,000 from the Parksville Lions and Garland is challenging businesses and organizations to match it.

Garland said more than $800,000 has already been raised and the committee will continue to pursue provincial and federal grants.

“So far we haven’t had any contributions from the provincial government or the federal government,” said Garland. “This is part of their criteria for a healthy lifestyle. Due to the election and COVID-19 things have been held back a wee bit this year. We still are looking and working hard to get $250,000 from the provincial government and we’re hoping the feds will match it.”

For project information, go to Oceanside Community Track – Oceanside Community Track.

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Nanaimo Regional DistrictTrack and field