It’s funny sometimes how an issue that sits dormant for years, even decades, suddenly, often out of nowhere, gets new life.
The Ladner waterfront, redevelopment of Paterson Park, a new library for Tsawwassen, a sports complex at John Oliver Park… there are countless examples of big ticket items that never seem to be able to get beyond the drawing board, but every now and again one of them, mercifully, finds a way off the list. The Delta Museum had been a charter member, having occupied what was supposed to be a temporary location in the old municipal hall building in Ladner Village for almost 50 years, before the stars finally aligned to find it a new home in the civic precinct.
As was the case with the museum, a project needs several factors to line up for it to be successful, most notably a combination of political will at the local level and the opportunity to tap into funding from senior government sources, which appears to be the model being followed at the moment when it comes to the running tracks at Delta’s high schools.
The tracks didn’t suddenly fall into disrepair as it took years of use, weather and neglect to get us to the point we’re at today, yet we limped along with little hope for improvements given school trustees had far bigger issues on their collective plate. With staff and services routinely cut to balance a string of deficit budgets, the tracks became an afterthought as there was no possible way for the money to stretch that far.
There also wasn’t a huge public outcry. Yes, there was certainly grumbling about the deterioration of the rubberized surface at South Delta Secondary’s track, but it was far from a front burner issue and was seemingly destined to take up permanent residence on Delta’s ever-growing wish list.
Recently, however, a public push has got the attention of local politicians, both school trustees and council members, who just happen to be facing the voters this fall. There are also pots of money at the provincial and federal levels available to help fund infrastructure projects, so when you add it all up you’ve got a recipe for getting something done.
We’re still a long ways away from that happening, but the stars that need to align seem to be doing so.