The school board is pitching a deal to the city for track facilities.
At a school board/council liaison committee meeting last week, a couple of motions were endorsed, proposals that will go to council for consideration. Those motions were made public at the school board's meeting Tuesday.
Chair Laura Dixon said the first motion is for the track at South Delta Secondary to be resurfaced with the school district and Delta splitting the cost. If council agrees, the project would take place this summer so that it could be ready for the new school year.
The second motion is more complex, requiring both the district and city to work together to fund an entirely new track at North Delta Secondary. That deal involves a grant application being made as soon as this August to the province, which is being given money from the feds for infrastructure and community projects, as well as a land deal that would see the city take ownership of the NDSS track site.
“This would include any work required in order to subdivide and transfer ownership of the portion of the land related to the track facility at a price agreed to by the parties, and approved by the Minister of Education in order that the new track facility becomes eligible for the grant,” the motion states.
Dixon explained the move is necessary because city projects could be eligible for funding from the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program, but the same doesn’t apply to school districts.
"Basically, I’m trying to create the political will for us to move forward and line ourselves up for this grant,” Dixon added.
The district explained it had no choice but to remove the shabby track at South Delta Secondary because it was beyond repair
Dixon noted if the city was interested in moving ahead, negotiations would have to be held in-camera for the land transaction.
School district staff in recent weeks removed the rubber track at SDSS and painted lines on the asphalt surface underneath. The district explained the surfacing issue needed to be addressed to ensure a safe track for the immediate future.
Hoping to utilize new provincial funding to replace the district’s shabby track at SDSS, as well as have a new track facility at a North Delta high school, the board last fall approached the city about what it would take to bring together all three levels of government, and perhaps other funding partners. Trustees noted thousands of Delta residents would benefit from such facilities.
Council members had expressed initial reluctance, citing the uncertain cost as well as the long list of other parks and recreation projects seeking money, but tracks have become a political issue with two of the mayoralty candidates in the upcoming civic election pledging to address the issue.
At a parks, recreation and culture commission meeting, it was noted the base project cost for track facilities was estimated at $2.4 million to $4 million, with options pushing that figure toward $6 million.
While school district pushes forward trying to get a new track facility for NDSS, the existing rubberized track at Seaquam Secondary in North Delta, which is showing its age and in need of refurbishment, has not been part of the conversation.