North Delta Secondary teacher Gary Sandhu stands on the track outside the school. On rainy days like this one, he says the track is unusable because of poor drainage. (Grace Kennedy photo)

Delta school tracks need upgrade, says teacher

‘Why is the city not jumping at the chance to try and improve this facility?’

Walking around North Delta Secondary’s track in the rain on Nov. 21, teacher Gary Sandhu points out the faults in the aging facility.

“I wish the mayor and the councillors could come down and look at the state it’s in right now, as we sit here,” he said. “It’s just sad.”

The drainage is poor, he said, causing water to pool inches deep along the inside edge of the track. The field in the centre is boggy, and players’ feet sink into the grass. Even in nice weather, the crushed rock surface damages the gym floor when it’s brought in on students’ shoes.

“This is the state it’s been for 20 to 25 years,” Sandhu said.

Now, he has decided it’s time to take action.

Sandhu and nine others have sent letters to Delta council, imploring the city to fix the track conditions for the sake of the community.

According to a Delta Parks, Recreation and Culture Commission report dated Sept. 19 of this year, of the four Delta track facilities, the North Delta Secondary track is used the most by the community. Sitting in the P.E. office at the school, Sandhu often sees elderly people walking around the track.

“I feel sad for them, because they could literally hurt themselves using this track,” he said. “And you can see they look a little bit uncomfortable, but they keep using it because it’s the only facility that’s here.”

During the Nov. 20 council meeting, Coun. Jeannie Kanakos moved to send the letters to Delta MP Carla Qualtrough, Delta North MLA Ravi Kahlon, Delta South MLA and Coun. Ian Paton, the Delta Council and Board of Education Liaison Committee, and the Delta Parks, Recreation and Culture Commission.

This isn’t the first time the state of the North Delta track has been discussed at council.

In May 2017, Delta council heard from a delegation made up of Seaquam track coach Keith Haynes, Burnsview track coach Tim Stielow and B.C. Provincial Football Association representative Cory Philpot on the need for a competitive track and field facility in Delta. The director of parks, recreation and culture Ken Kuntz advised council at that time that there was no funding for that project in Delta’s five-year financial plan.

On Sept, 18, 2017, Kanakos submitted a notice of motion that sought to create a joint workshop between Delta council and the Delta School Board to discuss options and costs pertaining to tracks in Delta. The hope was to have this workshop before council’s business planning workshop. That did not happen.

In a Sept. 19 Delta parks staff report to the Parks, Recreation and Culture Commission, it was advised that “there is no broadly demonstrated community need for a track and field facility and the majority of the benefit would be to the student population.”

It recommended that any track and field facility development should be undertaken by the school district, with “a substantial portion of funding coming from sources other than the Corporation of Delta.”

On Oct. 10, the school board moved to invite all levels of government to meet to discuss funding for and construction of replacement tracks in North Delta and South Delta. The motion, according to draft minutes of the meeting, was made because of the provincial government’s community initiative fund, announced during the campaign period for the provincial election.

In April, then-Delta North MLA candidate Ravi Kahlon announced a proposed $30-million investment over three years to support the creation and upgrading of sports, art and seniors facilities in B.C.

Related: BC NDP announce fund to upgrade sports fields

Kahlon, a two-time Olympic field hockey player, grew up practicing at the North Delta Secondary School track. During the announcement in April, he called the track “unusable” in bad weather, and nothing has changed since then.

“Delta has an opportunity to work with the government in a partnership to create a space where people can actually come together,” Sandhu said.

“It’s hard to ignore: if the funding is there, why is the city not jumping at the chance to try and improve this facility for the entire community?”



grace.kennedy@northdeltareporter.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Delta council votes to eliminate controversial end-of-service benefit

Three current councillors who served on the previous council will still receive lump-sum payouts

New Surrey councillor is a newer dad

Mandeep Nagra’s son Kabar was born at Surrey Memorial Hospital, four days after the civic election

Tip from resident helps Delta police stop break-and-enter in progress

Two men were arrested allegedly in possession of various stolen items and break-and-enter tools

Over-budget bids cause delay of four Surrey school projects

Two projects have gone back out to tender, two awaiting ‘revised budget approval’ from Ministry of Education

VIDEO: B.C. legislature clerk, sergeant at arms suspended for criminal investigation

Clerk of the House Craig James, Sergeant-at-arms Gary Lenz on administrative leave

South Korean named Interpol president in blow to Russia

South Korea’s Kim Jong Yang was elected as Interpol’s president edging out a longtime veteran of Russia’s security services.

E. coli outbreak linked to romaine lettuce sickens 18 people in Ontario, Quebec

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency says it’s working with U.S. authorities to determine the source of the romaine lettuce those who got ill were exposed to.

Trump defies calls to punish crown prince for writer’s death

The U.S. earlier sanctioned 17 Saudi officials suspected of being responsible for or complicit in the Oct. 2 killing, but members of Congress have called for harsher actions, including cancelling arms sales.

British, EU leaders to meet as Brexit deadline looms

The U.K. and the European Union agreed last week on a 585-page document sealing the terms of Britain’s departure.

Richard Oland was killed ‘in a rage,’ prosecutor tells son’s murder trial

The verdict from Oland’s 2015 murder trial was set aside on appeal in 2016. Richard Oland, 69, was found dead in his Saint John office on July 7, 2011.

B.C.’s HMCS Edmonton rescues two more sea turtles

Warship credited with a turtle rescue earlier in November

Former NHL player and coach Dan Maloney dies at 68

Maloney coached the Toronto Maple Leafs and Winnipeg Jets

Ex-MSU president charged with lying to police about Nassar

Lou Anna Simon was charged Tuesday with lying to police during an investigation

Most Read