Pigeons on the track outside North Delta Secondary school. (Grace Kennedy photo)

Delta track upgrades moving forward, slowly

North Delta track improvements would require investment from all four levels of government

Delta’s tracks could finally be getting an upgrade, as the school district and the city inch towards collaboration.

Chair Laura Dixon briefed the school board on Tuesday night (June 12) about two motions that were brought forward during the in-camera Delta council and Delta board of education liaison committee meeting on May 22.

The first motion referred to the South Delta Secondary track, which requires minor asphalt repairs and a complete resurfacing. If agreed to by Delta council, these repairs would be jointly funded by the city and the school district.

In April, the top layer of track was removed from its asphalt base as it was deemed beyond repair, Dixon explained. To make the eight-lane track usable for a district meet, the cushioned top was removed and lines painted onto the asphalt.

“The membrane had failed, and water had gotten underneath,” Dixon told the North Delta Reporter. “The company that would normally come and pat any deficiency said they couldn’t remedy the situation any longer, that there had been too much water getting in underneath.”

Dixon wouldn’t comment on the costs the district estimated for the track repairs — those are currently before Delta staff, and will be brought forward to council sometime in the near future — but did say there were two options for the quality and price of the track.

Dixon said she expects work on the South Delta track to get underway this summer, provided the city is on board. The North Delta Secondary track, however, is a much more complex issue.

“The scope of the project up there is completely different,” she said. “The track isn’t the right width, it doesn’t have the right base to be able to proceed to putting asphalt on or a cushioned surface.

“There’s been requests from the community for other amenities, such as covered seating,” she continued. “That will really be a much for extensive investigation, planning [and] consultation process.”

The North Delta track motion brought forward to the liaison committee, mirrors a motion put forward by Counc. Bruce McDonald during council on May 14, which in turn mirrors a motion put forward by the school board in October 2017.

RELATED: Delta council inches tracks discussion forward

In essence, the motion asks that the Delta school board work with the City of Delta to create a model where all four levels of government can fund a new track. Right now, that means creating a framework where the city can apply for the new community infrastructure grant put forward by the federal and provincial government.

The details of the grant application won’t be known in full until late summer or early fall. However, there are a couple catches that have come up already.

To start, the grant will make $157 million available for community infrastructure projects. However that money will be available over 10 years through a graduated roll-out. The first year will only see $157,000 made available for communities, which Dixon said wouldn’t cover the cost of the new track.

The bigger issue, however, is that the grant is not available for school districts.

In order for the track replacement to be eligible for the grant, the land will need to be owned by the city. Currently, as the track is on school property, it is owned by the district.

Dixon said the board is willing to look at a transfer of the land “at a price that the Delta School District and the City of Delta can agree on.” But the education minister must also be on board with the sale price, as school districts need provincial approval for the sale of their land.

“You can see this is a much more complex long-term piece than [in] South Delta,” Dixon said.

Because of the land ownership complication, the School Act requires that future meetings about the North Delta track be held in-camera.

Right now, the North Delta track replacement is still in the beginning stages, with studies being done by both the district and the city. Both groups have dedicated two staff members to working on the track issues in Delta.

“At least now … both council and school board have allocated staff time to starting to develop or investigate the scope of the project, so we have some good information once the grant particulars have been made public,” she said.

“We’re trying to work ahead of [it] so we can be as prompt as possible in putting an application in.”



grace.kennedy@northdeltareporter.com

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