Vancouver Park Board proposes major upgrades to track-and-field facilities

May 31 2019, 3:46 am

A proposed overhaul of the Vancouver Park Board’s track-and-field facilities aims to enhance the city’s recreational, training, and competitive spaces for track-and-field sports.

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Over the past few decades, Vancouver’s track-and-field facilities have been ignored and fallen to relative disrepair, compared to the facilities in the suburban municipalities, which are designed and maintained to a standard that allows for provincial and national competitions.

For its renewal strategy, the park board is proposing to retrofit its existing facilities, which are largely located next to public schools. No new facilities are planned.

track-and-field facilities

Map of Vancouver’s track-and-field facilities. (Vancouver Park Board)

Those deemed to be recreational facilities could receive modest upgrades such as low-impact resurfacing, long jump pits, wayfinding and signage, and site furnishings. Such facilities can include non-standard track shapes and loops, and surfaces made of rubber or asphalt.

The recreational facilities serve purposes for leisure running and walking, informal athletics, and cross-training.

Identified training facilities would receive improvements to allow for the hosting of local events and competitions, with a rubberized, six-marked lane track (with natural grass or synthetic turf infield), jumping and throwing event space, lighting, and space for temporary spectator seating.

track and field vancouver

Concept for a typical training-level track-and-field facility. (Vancouver Park Board)

Only two existing locations for competitive facilities have been identified, with the existing track-and-field facilities at Vancouver Technical Secondary and Sir Winston Churchill Secondary proposed to see significant upgrades.

Competitive facility standards entail an eight-lane, international standard track with rubberized surfacing to international standards. There would also be full jumping and throwing event space, lighting, washrooms, storage, spectator seating, change rooms, ancillary building space, and public announcement systems.

track-and-field facilities

Concept for a competition-level track-and-field facility at Vancouver Technical Secondary. (Vancouver Park Board)

Langara Gardens Pearson Dogwood

Future neighbourhood map showing the Langara Gardens redevelopment (top) and Pearson Dogwood redevelopment (bottom). Upgrades will also be made to the track-and-field facility next to Sir Winston Churchill Secondary School. (City of Vancouver)

Coupled with the physical facilities improvements, the park board’s strategy calls for a collaboration with clubs and other organizations to help increase track-and-field participation, and supporting entry-level outdoor programming and events in partnership with the school board.

With the new competitive facilities, the City of Vancouver would have the capability to seek opportunities to host track-and-field competitions, which are currently largely held at the track-and-field facilities of UBC Thunderbird Park, Minoru Park in Richmond, Swangard Stadium in Burnaby, and Town Centre Park in Coquitlam.

The Harry Jerome International Track Classic, one of the region’s largest annual track-and-field competitions, attracting recent Canadian Olympians such as Andre De Grasse, has been held at Town Centre Park and Swangard Stadium over the past few years.

A number of private schools in the region also have international standard fields for the sport.

The park board is currently seeking public feedback for its track-and-field facilities strategy. Input will be used to develop a final strategy and concept design for park board approval this fall.

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Kenneth ChanKenneth Chan

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