Community members are hoping to remake the 40-year-old Oceanside track and field facility, which has not had any proper maintenance in the past 20 years and is in dire need of replacement, according to fundraisers.
“It’s just not safe for people to be on,” said Mark Desvaux, a director for Oceanside Track and Field and a member of the track steering committee.
“The track is very much like concrete now and we can’t train on it properly,” he said.
Several of the track club’s athletes have to travel to other facilities in other communities to train and compete.
Other events, including school sports days, have had to be cancelled because the track was deemed unsafe.
The weed-infested track has produced Olympians in the past. High jumper Michael Mason did his first ever high jump at the track, and Olympic athlete Alycia Butterworth trained and personally donated her recent winnings to help raise funds.
The track is also, however, where Paralympic athlete Michelle Stilwell could not train because there is no wheelchair access.
“A new track for Oceanside would mean accessibility for everyone in the community,” said Desvaux. “We want to call it the track of dreams, and if we build it, they will come and run.”
A fundraising effort is underway to raise money for a new track, including a GoFundMe page.
It will cost $1.5 million to build a new facility, and fundraisers are still looking to raise another $650,000. They are looking for a couple big donors to come forward and help them cross the finish line.
The facility is behind Ballenas Secondary and is on school grounds, but the school district is making it available for the whole community. A shared use agreement with the Regional District of Nanaimo has been put in place as well.
“The school has generously donated this as a shared use track so we can get to this $1.5 million,” said Desvaux.
Source: CTV News