SD70 should ante in for track repair – city

Port Alberni city council wants School District 70 to chip in for $700, 000 track repair but the district says it can't spare the cash.

School District 70 doesn’t have any extra money to contribute to the $700,000 resurfacing of the track at Bob Dailey Stadium, trustee Rosemarie Buchanan said.

Buchanan was responding to discussion at Monday’s Port Alberni city council meeting, at which the subject was discussed.

At the meeting, councillors voted to underwrite track repair with $700,000 from the land sale reserve fund.

Parks and Recreation director Scott Kenny apprised council that the city’s application for a federal grant to help with the repair had failed.

The condition of the track is deteriorating and is a potential safety hazard, hence the need to act now, Kenny said.

The track was installed more than 20 years ago. Surface repairs have been delayed due to budget restraint but the project can no longer wait, Kenny said.

The elements and user wear and tear have taken their toll on the surface, Kenny said.

Walkers use the track the most. Other users include the Alberni Valley Track and Field Club and School District 70.

Bob Dailey Stadium’s track is located across the street from Alberni District Secondary School, and students use it often, Kenny said.

Council voted to send a letter to the school district asking it to contribute to the repairs.

The school board didn’t participate in any discussions about track repair, Coun. Cindy Solda said. “The Ministry of Education wouldn’t let them allocate money offsite,” she said.

Trustees haven’t discussed the matter yet, Buchanan said. “But as we heard during the school closure public forums we don’t have any extra money laying around to contribute,” she said.

Councillor Jack McLeman asked Kenny if the city really needed a $500,000 track to just walk on, asking further about what if it wasn’t there at all.

Even if you take the track out, people will still walk there, Kenny said.

Proposing its removal would give rise to organizations speaking up against the idea, he added.

“From seniors’ standpoints they would beg to differ and would be vocal about it being taken away.”

If the city decides not to proceed then it runs the risk of litigation, Kenny said.

“If it’s such a big offense and we can’t afford it then we should get rid of it,” McLeman responded.

Doing the work now saves a headache later, Coun. Dan Washington said. “There’s no effect on the taxpayers, and the longer we wait the worse it’s going to get,” he said.

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