A comprehensive track-and-field facilities strategy was approved by Vancouver Park Board commissioners on Monday, providing an implementation plan for renewing and expanding Vancouver’s facilities for the sport.
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The unanimous approval specifically allows several projects to proceed to the next steps in planning, specifically the construction of Vancouver’s first regulation competitive track-and-field training facility at Vancouver Technical Secondary School.
At a cost of up to $7 million, this entails an eight-lane track with rubberized surface, natural grass field, jump area, spectator seating, facility lighting, and a fieldhouse.
Detailed design and contract awards can also now be executed to upgrade existing facilities at Templeton Park and Kerrisdale Park, which carry a combined cost of up to $6 million.
“The Park Board recognizes the physical and mental benefits of sport and physical activity among children, youth and adults,” said Vancouver Park Board Chair Stuart Mackinnon in a statement.
“The Track and Field Strategy is a much-needed roadmap for investment in our city that will ensure we have the facilities and supports in place for people of all ages and abilities to have access to inclusive, low barrier amenities that support walking, running, and competitive track and field.”
A dozen other facilities across the city are planned for less intensive upgrades that mainly target recreational users.
One other regulation competitive track-and-field training facility is slated for Sir Winston Churchill Secondary School, but this is currently under review as part of other planning studies and capital plan priorities. The project is anticipated to cost up to $8 million.
Other components of the track-and-field strategy entail programs that encourage greater access and participation, including partnering with other entities to stage events.
To create the strategy, the park board performed extensive public and stakeholder consultation, including with various local amateur sports organizations and societies.
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.